Saturday, August 1, 2009

DESTINATION VIETNAM 2009: GOOD BYE DALAT! SEE YOU AGAIN!



In the foregoing photoshot of the merry roundabout just in front of the central marketplace or Cho Chalat, you can see the replica Eiffel Tower far in the background. That's the historic symbol of the city of Dalat, often known as 'Le Petit Paris'.

To the French, Dalat was certainly their wonderful playground & cool retreat during the colonial era to beat the heat & humidity of Saigon.

To me, it's a beautiful place I want to come back again & again.


Upon checking out of the villa hotel, we immediately said 'Good Bye' to the city of Dalat just before noon.

Our coach had stopped at two places enroute to Ho Chi Minh City, where we had our late lunch as well as late dinner.

Lunch was held at a typical tourist stopover destination along the highway, in the coffee/tea-growing township of Bao Loc (about 110 km from Dalat or 180 km to Ho Chi Minh City).

For me, lunch at the Nha Hang Restaurant more or less served its intended purpose, but what was really great, as far as the kids were concerned, was actually the free flow of Vietnamese coffee at the adjoining supermarket.

Dinner was held in the small town of Ma Da Gui, in the Da Huoai district (all part of Lam Dong Province, which includes Dalat & Bao Loc) located further down the highway towards Ho Chi Minh City, at a beautiful restaurant overlooking a large lush-green landscaped garden. For me, dinner to some extent was much better at this restaurant.

The coach journey back to Ho Chi Minh City from the city of Dalat took almost an entire day, so to speak, even though it was only 308km from Dalat. By the time we hit home or rather my sister-in-law's residential apartment, it was close to almost 9pm.














[Destination Vietnam Schedule, 3rd to 10th June 2009, with 3 nights in Nha Trang & 4 nights in Dalat.]

DESTINATION VIETNAM 2009: WINE TASTING IN DALAT

My friend, David, loves to drink wine. So, in Dalat, he had the opportunity to sample the locally produced wine (the label read “Made from Dalat regional fruit”), obviously a legacy of the French colonial era - but at ridiculously low prices: one for five bucks, & another for ten bucks.

The wine was sold at the central marketplace.

His verdict: not too bad for the value he had paid.

Personally, even though I don't drink wine, I believe that the domestically produced wine has been developed more for local consumption, considering its low pricing, & probably has a much different taste than what is expected by most Western palates.



[Destination Vietnam Schedule, 3rd to 10th June 2009, with 3 nights in Nha Trang & 4 nights in Dalat.]

DESTINATION VIETNAM 2009: FRESH FLOWERS AT THE CENTRAL MARKETPLACE, DALAT

A typical scene of bustling morning activity at the central marketplace in Dalat.






According to my wife, all these freshly cut & specially arranged small but fragrant flowers, which are unique to this part of the region in Vietnam, can last more than a year without much care or maintenance, when displayed in the homes.








[Destination Vietnam Schedule, 3rd to 10th June 2009, with 3 nights in Nha Trang & 4 nights in Dalat.]

DESTINATION VIETNAM 2009: FRESH FRUITS AT THE CENTRAL MARKETPLACE, DALAT

A typical scene of bustling morning activity at the central marketplace in Dalat.

Inside the main building known as 'Cho Chalat', there are permanent stalls selling a staggering array of fresh fruits on the ground floor. However, in the morning hours, assorted fresh fruits are also purveyed in the side streets surrounding both sides of the main building.











[Destination Vietnam Schedule, 3rd to 10th June 2009, with 3 nights in Nha Trang & 4 nights in Dalat.]

DESTINATION VIETNAM 2009: FRESH FARM PRODUCE AT THE CENTRAL MARKETPLACE, DALAT

A typical scene of bustling morning activity at the central marketplace in Dalat.







I was definitely captivated by this Vietnamese lady with her handy pineapple slicer. It took her less than a minute to cut a pineapple - with all those jagged stuff removed. I told my wife to get one of that, which she did.





[Destination Vietnam Schedule, 3rd to 10th June 2009, with 3 nights in Nha Trang & 4 nights in Dalat.]