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Published: August 3rd 2015
Day 15 - Dalat with Terry
We got up at about 6.15 due to Helens going off!!! Helen really wanted to back to sleep, but I was awake now! So that wasn't going to happen...lol. I feel more stiff each day, yet really improving. The bruising makes it all worse! Helens been great at dishing out my tablets. I get them as regular as clockwork, and have to say, I am really ready for them each time!
We went out for breakfast, we also met up with Terry. He had a plan! After breakfast,we went for coffee at the Easy Riders Hang Out Bar. Tuan, the owner had agreed with Terry to get us a car so that Terry could show us some sights of Dalat. This being because we should be on the bike tour, but can't do it now because of my injuries. This was so good of Terry as he was actually offered another trip by Tuan to allow him to earn extra money, but he turned it down to accommodate us, bless him, he is such a good person!
The car picked us up, we started off at the flower greenhouses. Vietnam export a
lot of flowers, particularly through Dutch export. We continued our tour across the wide spread mountainous country to a coffee plantation. We saw, and learnt about Arabica, Robusta and Weasel Coffee. The first two are just different quality beans, but the Weasel coffee is one on its own! The weasels eat the best beans, then their digestive enzymes ferment the beans and break down the proteins. These beans, harvested from the faeces, then create a coffee that tastes rich and slightly smoky with hints of chocolate. It's one of the most expensive coffees in the world!
When we went into the cafe part after seeing it all, we went along a line of coffee beans, sniffing it all. The Weasel most definitely smelt the best!
Next we went a silk factory. We saw silkworms in the villages earlier, but this is were the farmers bring their silk pods to sell. This factory takes it from pod form to silk cloth. The process of sorting and cleaning the pods is done by hand, then the machinery is set by the female workers to make it into twine, wash it, dry it, dye it, then finally set up the weaving
looms to make the cloth. A farmer was dropping off his pods to sell as we were viewing. At the end, Terry showed us some silkworms that were dead, but could. be eaten, we thought he was joking, but he showed us by eating one, then Helen followed! Ugh! I couldn't!
We visited a rice winery next. It was very basic, making 65% pure alcohol!! They do water it down to sell locally. They also put snakes, bananas, reptiles, and bees all put in alcohol that they sell as traditional medicines. We had a drink of their medicinal tea, and was given a dragon fruit off the tree in the garden, which we had with the tea.
Our last visit was a pagoda near the Elephant waterfall. There was a huge laughing Buddah, then some really unusual chairs made from random shaped would. As we entered the Pagoda you were faced with three really beautifully coloured Buddahs, then at each side of them where two of the versions of the Buddha, Avalokitesvar. Helen was totally taken aback with emotion when she entered the pagoda. It is wired sometimes, how these things of such beauty, that are taken care
of with such great respect, can affect you.
We set off back to Dalat, with a detour to the supermarket. I needed to buy a suitcase with wheels as I can't carry my backpack due to the injury! All done, Terry dropped us back at the hotel.
We got sorted out, the decided to go to The Windmill Cafe for a nice coffee! We found it yesterday on our....taking it easy, and do nothing day! It was lovely sat outside, watching the world go by...... In absolutely poring rain!... And thunder.
We were ready to eat after about an hour do wandered over to an Italian restaurant for our tea. We had had a busy day, so was ready to eat, sort our bags, then an early night. We had partake and pizza for tea and headed back to the hotel. We have to reduce our stuff, as I have to get rid of my back pack..... A bigger job than we thought.
We got a text from Terry, he needed to see us about something, so we arranged for him to come to the hotel. He arrived about ten minutes later. We had asked him
to book us on the overnight bus to Saigon, but instead he had spoken to Tuan, due to my general discomfort, Terry had suggested to Tuan that they get us a private car to drive us seven hours to Saigon!! It will be so much better for us both! Then Terry explained that we won't see him, as he is going on another trip with Easy Riders, thus came as a shock really, as we thought he would be there until we leave. This news, ridiculous as it sounds, took us both aback! We have relied on Terry for everything, and he has whole heartedly responded to everything.
It does remind me that there are good people in this world, like Ankur, Tom and Patrick; Terry is yet another, that I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with.
We said our tearful goodbyes all round, but did agree that we will meet for morning coffee before he leaves.
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