Dalat

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Flag of Vietnam  , Lâm Ðồng,
Thursday, October 20, 2011

We wound our way down the mountains to a small minority village. 
Little old women lined the roads beneath colourful umbrellas selling piles of oranges stacked meticulously high. Such an abundance of oranges made me wonder why it’s absolutely impossible to get a fresh orange juice anywhere ‘round here. 
On our bus ride our guide Bau told us of his ‘Fried Rice’ the nick-name given to a man’s wife in Vietnam. A ‘Noodle’ on the other hand is a man’s mistress. He said that all the men love their ‘Fried Rice’, but solely rice becomes boring, so sometimes he has to go out and find some noodle. Seeing as though the Vietnamese always eat noodle for breakfast, he has noodles with his “Fried Rice’ and sometimes takes his ‘Noodle’ out for rice for lunch. Bau’s laughter and cheekiness is infectious and has the whole group in stitches.  Bau is an awesome guide but we have come to learn to not believe everything he says. If he doesn’t know the answer to our question he simply makes it up, some is also lost in translation. We have affectionately called these Bau-isms.  Eg:
Rana: “Bau, how many siblings do you have?”
Bau: “One older sister and 3 younger, my parents had 4 children”

We visited a local tribe village with a statue of a giant cock, the feathered variety.
At the local school there did not appear to be any teaching going on as small boys ran in circles punching and kicking each other whilst the girls giggled and hid behind doors. Then it was off to the ‘Crazy House’ namely so for it’s bizarre architecture. Exploring it was like being inside a Salvador Dali picture merged with the faraway tree and magic mountain. The architect, an eccentric Vietnamese lady, studied architecture in Moscow and the house has been a work in progress for 20 years already. She still lives there and I caught her heading out shopping and was fortunate enough to chat to her and get a photo together. 
After the most amazing Vietnamese vegetarian banquet, which included chicken broth with veggies of course, we headed off to see the famous artist monk at his pagoda. Unfortunately he was in America exhibiting his art...as you do... so we continued on to the catch the train. 

 Bau: “This is a very old train station, like maybe 1992.....No wait, 20th century”  
It turned out to be built in 1932, or so Bau now says.
 
Next on to the Pagoda, an extravagant  piece of mosaic architecture with a giant statue beside it. 
 
Rana: “Bau, what is that giant statue made of?"
Bau: “Um, that is made of wood”

Rana: “Like from trees?” 

Bau: “No, no, not from trees”                                                                  

Bau later decided it was made of shavings of Aloe, which seems even more bizarre than wood that’s not from trees! 
The Dalat flower garden was extremely random. It was littered with peculiar statues like giraffes, penguins, real horses and giant tea pots fashioned out of hedges.
  






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