After the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City, it was refreshing to get to a city like Da Lat. It is a small, quiet and quaint town in the mountains. I was in love with the weather because it reminded me of home. It was quite cool and when the sun was out it was perfect. I actually could go on jogs and not sweat my ass off. I wore jeans and a jacket for the first time in 3 months.
I stayed at Da Lat Family Hostel and it was like no other hostel I have ever experienced. I was walking down an alley looking for the hostel for a few minutes when I hear some loud music coming from the street ahead. As soon as I walked in the door I saw a big group of people drinking and dancing. A girl that worked there came running at me, gave me a huge hug, grabbed my bag off my shoulders and made me start dancing. Then they sat me down immediately and mama gave me a cup of green tea and starting feeding me rice, meat, and spring rolls. It was a very surprising welcome after a long bus ride, but i loved the atmosphere.
Mama as we called her was the life of the party. She spoke no english, but made you feel at home. Every time a new person walked in the door she would start yelling, give you a big hug and start cooking a feast. I don’t know where she gets all of her energy, but she always made time to laugh, cook, and dance. She cooked family meal every night at 5 pm, which was one of the coolest parts of the hostel, besides the staff. She would let us help her prepare spring rolls, cut vegetables and peel potatoes during the day. It was a great way to bond with other travelers, the staff and eat some tasty authentic vietnamese foods.
I ended up deciding that I needed to get a visa extension because there was no way i was going to finish the rest of Vietnam in the 2 weeks that I had left. The combination of the cool weather and atmosphere of the hostel made me want to stay longer than planned. Every night was pretty much a party and did get a little old after a few days though. Most people only stayed a couple days, but I ended up staying 2 weeks. Because of this I started to get the routine of the hostel down and started helping out around the place. I would prepare foods, help serve dinner, wash dishes, take out the trash and clean whenever I was in the mood. A lot of travelers thought that i worked there, so they would ask me for help and I would do my best to do so. The staff became my family and I loved helping out. They wanted me to stay and work there, but I had to continue my travels. Love you guys! I have memories for a lifetime!
Every night Vince took the guests to a bar that had live music and this was where I met my good friends Mike and Oanh. Mike plays the electric guitar and Oanh does vocals. They are an awesome band and I really enjoyed their music. We would meet for coffee a few times where they taught me a Vietnamese game called 13 in english I believe. I loved the game. We also went out to eat a few times, played pool late nights and they refused to let me pay. They were some of the most genuine vietnamese friends I have made.
Vince took me out to try some new foods and toured me around the city one day.
The main attraction in Da Lat was the Canyoning. You repel down waterfalls, cliff jump and float down a river. It was so fun and a little scary at times, but what an awesome time it was. I met my new friends Go and Co (Chicken) canyoning (they were the instructors). I ended up meeting them and some other friends that night to watch Futbol (soccer) at a coffee shop (Matt you would be proud). It was very interesting because they are super quiet compared to games at a bar in the U.S.
Mama took me out to breakfast and to the meat market for the nights family meal
I visited the crazy house and it was pretty crazily built!
I took a cable car ride up a mountain to a Pagoda
Miss you all!