We have finally slowed the pace a little here in the French built mountain resort of Dalat. At 5000 feet above sea level the weather is cooler, around 24 C and sunny, so we are promenading around the lake and visiting the local sites in a more leisurely way. Earlier we spent each of14 nights in a different bed, not quite as risque as it sounds.
After a visit to Halong Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty with atolls and caves, an overnight train from Hanoi took us up to the Chinese border in the mountains of northern Vietnam where we spent two days trekking, visiting ethnic minority villages and seeing a lifestyle that combines agricultural traditions with the communication technology of the 21st Century, mobile phones and flat screen TV's,in a wooden hut! Following Sapa we've worked our way south along the coast. Another overnight train from Hanoi to Hue where we had one bunk and a stool between us, guess who got the stool! The Citadal in Hue was impressive, and we moved south again to Hoi An encountering a monsoon deluge as we passed through Danang, the bus and hundreds of bikes travelling along a river
The overnight train from Danang to Nha Trang was least surprising because we had the upper bunks we'd booked. What was surprising was the mum, baby, gran and auntie occupying the two lower bunks. Dad was already asleep on the floor, amidst baggage. With no words of english we worked on smiles and gestures and by morning they all waved us off.
We have found that the people are so friendly and welcoming, treating us with far more respect than we deserve! The food has been most interesting and enjoyable for the most part. The range of meats eaten such as birds and dogs are amongst the array of foods on show in the fabulous markets. We have eaten in small cafes frequented by locals but not been brave enough yet to eat at street cafes, not least because of the size of stools and my fear of food poisoning!!We have avoided western alternatives but are starting to crave fish and chips.We came close as we stopped off at the luxurious Dalat Palace Hotel for drinks yesterday but when we realised we would have to pay 25 pounds each when our main meals have averaged out
at 5 pounds for two including drinks we changed our minds. In need of a bit of luxury we are flying to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning for our last few days to savour Vietnam before going on to Malaysia.
Off in search of lunch so goodbye for now, Ann and Iain.
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