Dalat, December 28th 2010
All along the way on the green-fresh Dalat, Mr. Vu led us in his car upon our itinerary.
Mr. Vu was our driver last year and upon my request to Sunshine Travel, we got Mr. Vu to serve us again. What a coincidence that it turned out Mr.Vu was to be our driver also for the next 3 days to the central highlands, a local tour I booked through another travel agency, Gecko Groovy. When he found out about that he laughed and laughed along the way. Me sitting next to him said, "I should take your picture laughing like this."
Knowing us well enough, Mr. Vu made stops on spots he thought would make a nice picture. He even still remembers the lane where I and Wiwik frantically asked him to stop just because the evening twilight over the houses was marvelous. He said, "Every time I pass this lane, I never forget that moment."
This is Quang Trung Reservoir which I had already seen last year, but from the other side, from Bamboo Forest Meditation Centre. I've seen many reserevoirs before. This one just seem unique.
So green and so fresh. Somehow I didn't feel like standing on an Asia country.
Dalat is a city of flowers. You can find them everywhere. Nurseries spread along your way.
Do you know this is wild flower?
Mr. Vu brought us to a good local restaurant. This noodle, 22.000 VND, wasn't like pho I usually ate. This one was special.
Can you believe this was a lake? I felt sorry at this sight as I still remember how it was last year. Mr. Vu said that the government is planning to renovate Ho Xuan Huong.
I envy the photo of this cathedral in Insight Guides Vietnam. I couldn't get a deep blue sky.
This, Saigon Dalat Hotel, wasn't our hotel. You'll see, ours was better. :P
Before we checked in our hotel, I asked Mr. Vu wait to take us to a restaurant nearby later. I booked the car for until 8:00 PM and it was still pass six. To my surprise he said he couldn't for he was booked only until 4:00 PM. What?!! He said he had to call his office.
While Mr. Vu made a call with his cellphone, I searched my backpack for the payment receipt from Sunshine Travel. "Look!" I said furiously. I thought he should have been grateful for I was going to end his service an hour earlier.
He stared at "8:00 PM" on my receipt, and then, "Okay, okay. I'm sorry. My office didn't tell me," he said.
Wiwik and Gabe had already disappeared into the villas of Hagl Resort. "Now, I don't know where my room is!" I said to Mr. Vu.
"It's over there," he pointed behind me.
I went to his direction, walked and walked, but everything was quite. Hagl Resort is not a row of rooms like in a hotel. So it was not easy at all to find a way. The ways can vary left and right. I went back to the main office building and appear at the front desk. "Excuse me, what is my room number? To which way I should go?"
To make matter worse, the receptionist stared at me confused. "You don't know your room?"
Aaargh! Explaining about Mr. Vu would be a too complicated story for her. "My friends left me," I replied to make matter simple.
The receptionist gave me a pity look. Huh!
Suddenly my cellphone rang. It was Wiwik. She told me where our room was.
When I was back into the car to head for dinner, I continued my upsetness to Mr. Vu. "Because of you, I had to find my way to my room by myself. You said 'there', but there many houses! I had to return to the main office and ask..."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It was my fault," said Mr. Vu.
In my whole life experience, it's rare that someone would voluntary pronounce the words "I'm sorry." And to say, "It was my fault." to me, that's super rare.
I asked Mr. Vu to drop us at the very restaurant I and Michelle had dinner a year ago. This time I was well prepared: tripod.
Everything was the same except for a very cute little dog which ran along behind a waitress wherever she went. The dog was timid but very active. I couldn't get a sharp shot of it. Everytime I tried to point my lens at it, it ran to me, licked my hands, rubbed my feet. Auw, so adorable! As far as I can recall, I had a picture of me carrying the dog. But, I've searched through my laptop and can't find it.
We thought that this restaurant's name was Phu Dong. Also in "Insight Guides Vietnam" reference it's written "Phu Dong". But when we arrived in Nha Trang, almost every restaurant along the street was named Phu Dong. Out of curosity, I consulted Mc.Google. "Phu dong" means "floating". Okay, it might appeal to the restaurants by the seashore in Nha Trang. But, this one? Were we floating?
This is the place where I and Michelle sat last year. This time the waitress didn't let us sit outside. Ah, I think, after I and Michelle came, they learnt a lesson. Once they let a guest sit outside in the cold December night of Dalat, they would be made to go up and down in the cold.
Quoting from "Insight Guides Vietnam" about this "Phu Dong" from Dalat:
"Ambiance is the main draw here in this French-style castle. The beautiful stonework, mosaic floors and fountains offer a romantic departure from typical run-of-the-mill Vietnamese restaurants. Classical music serenades you as you dine on traditional Vietnamese cuisine as well as local specialties."
Everything was true except for the fountain that wasn't flowing when I was there.