Day 2: Dalat to Dak Lak

Two key lessons were learnt today; always keep my head behind Boo’s in case of kamikaze dragonflies on a suicide mission, and just in case, keep my mouth closed too. Today we diverted from the well trodden tourist path and instead I am beginning to experience the ‘real’ Vietnam (if there is such a thing). By real, of course I mean passing through and meeting minority communities such as the Hmong, Khmer and Cham people (so not really Vietnamese at all). I’m almost at a block where to begin as I saw so much today that I can’t seem to write it down quickly enough, here’s a starter.
Silkworms nibbling leaves growing to maturity so the Hmong people can sell them to the silk factory. Factories babysitting the mature worms and waiting for them to build cocoons. White cotton ball like cocoons being boiled and the silk strands collected. The silk being fed into and worked into a manageable fabric on a machine. Dying silk, creating scarves and eventually, of course, purchasing a couple. The scarves that I bought are a slightly thicker silk and this is because they are made from the silk cocoons which contain 2 silkworms instead of 1. I like to call them ‘love scarves’ because the little silkworms couldn’t bear to be apart!
Giving lollipops to local children as we passed through a minority village and their smiling faces!

Stopping by at a passion fruit farm, sampling lots of yummy fruits and then buying a kilo to be drunk with ice and sugar later that evening.
Flower farm – yellow, red and pink roses, transported all over Vietnam.
Elephant falls, a beautiful and enormous waterfall. Whereas most of the tourists were viewing it from the top and half way down, Boo obviously knew how to get to the bottom where it was gorgeous and refreshing with the spray.
How could I forget lunch! Definitely the best meal I have had in Vietnam and probably in my top 10 all time meals, just gorgeous! Tofu in tomato sauce, chicken marinated in lemongrass and herbs, fish with chillies, honey marinated pork, lots of rice and morning glory soup.

Late afternoon and we arrive at a small Hmong community perched on the side of a beautiful lake. I’m going to be doing a home stay, which means sleeping on a thin mattress at one end of a longhouse whilst the family sleep (or get drunk and rowdy) at the other end of the house, divided simply by a pink mosquito net. Not really much interaction as Boo and I had dinner at the café along with a few other easyriders and their passengers. Food was totally delicious again, I see that the pork/ chicken/ fish/ greens and rice combo is a favourite in this region and who can blame them. In an attempt to fit in a little better with the locals (a challenge as tall white people are not too common in these parts), I am drinking beer for the first time since I arrived in Asia! Two blondes from England are dancing half naked in the rain whilst singing beatles songs with their guitar playing driver and a few other easyrider tourists are slowing dripping into the café, sopping wet from the torrential monsoon rain! I head to bed early, 8.30pm, as I’m exhausted from the heat and driving.

sian