Sunday, March 23, 2014

Da Lat

March 7 – Arrived in Da Lat at 4am and thankfully Paradise Hostel let us get a few hours of rest in the dorms.   Nothing else exciting worth sharing during the day I don’t think (the problem with procrastinating for two weeks about writing down details of the trip).
March 8 – Spent day walking around Da Lat with Sam and had dinner with Mark and Ivan, two half Vietnamese half Mexican brothers that grew up in Italy and now live in Southern California.  Nice to have them with us as they were able to translate menus and teach us a few words.  Dinner at a local restaurant and then dessert at some small hole in the wall that served fried bananas covered in a sweet sauce.
March 9 – Went abseiling in Dalanta with an organized group and it ended up being one of the most challenging and rewarding days I’ve had in a very long time.  To be honest I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to do it with Sam, but I absolutely loved it.  Got harnessed up, did a few trial runs and then got into abseiling down four different ledges.  The first two were relatively easy, but when we got to the third everyone started getting a little nervous.  This was seriously a monster of a waterfall and they were asking us to gracefully climb down it.  I went towards the end of the line, so I saw some real horrors (people slipping and not able to get up), but I was determined to do it.  Had a little chit chat with the guy that was holding the safety rope and really felt comfortable taking directions from him.  I think the secret was not looking down because I think I would have actually had a heart attack looking down 25 meters through a rapid waterfall.  Took my time, didn’t slip, let go and fell about 4 meters to the water, and was thankful that I was alive to tell the tale.  

I was so proud of myself for completing that and I really would have been happy for that to be the end of the day, but they told us there was one more waterfall to abseil down that they called “The Washing Machine”.  Note to self: do not abseil down waterfalls named after kitchen appliances.  Absolutely horrified being lowered into a rapid waterfall and having them tell you you’re going to be sucked under, just hold your breath for a few seconds.  I was happy to do that one once but never again.  

Walked up a huge hill to get back to the road and saw a girl who was really badly scrapped up.  Earlier in the day we’d had the opportunity to cliff jump off from either 7 or 11 meters high.  I, as a ration human being (with no health insurance I should mention), opted out of this challenge.  Apparently, this poor girl had gone for the 11m jump but hadn’t cleared it, so she tore up the whole side of her leg and went head first into the water. 
Got dropped off back at our hostel and agreed to have dinner together with a few of the abseiling crew.  Went to the same local restaurant and dessert place and then headed back to the hostel to get ready for a night out with Ben, the owner of the hostel who’d invited us out to see “Vietnam’s best DJ”.  Went to Rain Nightclub, which was actually surprisingly swanky for such a small town, and had a great night dancing with the group from the hostel as well as a few locals.

March 10 – Went to Crazy House (which is really a horrible tourist trap) with Sam and Flore, a Dutch girl we’d met abseiling, and then headed back to catch the bus to Nha Trang.  

Got to Mojzo Inn and got put in a dorm with Flore, Sam, Gabe, Jake from England and Corey from SF.  We all went out to dinner together and then the boys and I bought some beers and sat on the beach for most of the night.  Went for a little midnight swim which was awesome as well.

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