I woke up at 530 from my alarm to catch the sunrise once more. It’s also the rare time that standing outside won’t wreck you as it’s actually very cool and breezy. I slept with only the mosquito net zipped up and woke up quite cold, it was definitely a foreign feeling. After walking along the beach taking more pictures I went up and had breakfast – two banh mi’s, black coffee, and passion fruit juice (cost of ~ 166000 VND). Here I talked to Mara and Ki Ki, two lovely girls I actually met yesterday but didn’t grab a story from them. I find that when I ask people for a story, it makes them think too hard for one and it doesn’t come off as fluid. So I usually wait for them to just tell me a story in a very natural way.
Mara is a 21 year old half German half Romanian who can be seen in a large crowd of Asian people always asking for directions. But then you realize…what a minute, the Asian people are the Chinese visitors and it’s them asking her for directions or for help translating English to Chinese. How!? Born in London, England she moved to Beijing at 14 years old and as a result, knows Mandarin quite fluently. If you ever use the app Accuweather, you can critique or praise their app design to her as she is the app designer for them based out of Beijing! And no, she does not have a hint an Asian in her blood!
Ki Ki is a tattoo artist and has given travellers tattoos on the spot should you request one! She aims to use this skill to receive free accommodations at places she visits, which is surprisingly quite normal for artists to do. She has been all over the world and is really one of the most genuinely nice ppl I’ve met. But then again, everybody I meet here are pretty awesome.
With that said, here is a picture of the type of people I don’t blog about. It’s 6am and the guy is still drinking a bucket lol.
I checked out at 745am and then said my goodbyes to all the great people I’ve met (who were awake and I can find). The bus was scheduled to come at 8am but as its become a popular phrase among backpackers, 8am means 9am Vietnamese time 😔.
When I arrived into Da Lat I immediately booked a canyoning tour for the next day and my bus ticket to Nha Trang for the 14th. Afterwards, I walked to my hostel and was immediately chatted up by two ladies sitting in the lobby. I had assumed one works at the hostel because she yelled in Vietnamese for the owner to come down. She then proceeded to ask if I would like to go with them to the cable car up the mountains to see the temples and lake. I’m only here for 2 nights and it’s currently 230pm so I figured why not! I had no agenda and it’d be an easy way to meet other travellers off the bat and do something I probably would’ve never done. I completed my check-in and off we went.
Arriving at the cable cars I was pretty hungry so I overpaid for some dried dragon fruit, which were quite tasty. While in the cable car, they put a single traveller in with us and immediately she became part of our group. This is what I love about travelling so far, generally speaking every backpacker is always interested in meeting new people and it’s always so neat to hear what they have to say.
The temples were pretty cool, and the lake was alright. I had no desire to go out onto the lake but the girls were so fired up about it I didn’t want to be THAT guy. Cost per person was 30,000 VND for a 4 person boat.
So who are these girls? Tiff from Los Angeles, Donna from Sweden, and Flora from Switzerland. Tiff and Donna originally met while backpacking Cambodia and have been meeting each other at random areas ever since. Flora is the lone wolf we took in to our Wolfpack. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of them with Sheldon as they thought they needed a better story to share with me. But little did I know that was their only opportunity (see why later…). I did manage to grab pictures off of Tiffs phone so here are the lovely girls:
After we got back to hostel I went to post my blog on Mui Ne. In the lobby later in the evening, I met a handful of other Americans and various others. They invited me to come to dinner/night market with them so I happily accepted. I then notified the sleeping Donna and Tiff, who are in the same dorm as me. So currently, there is roughly about 10 of us going to find food. When we arrived in the night market area looking for food, we ended up losing Donna and Tiff. The remaining 8 of us enjoyed some pho and discussed what we should do after. It was decided that we try this very unique bar called 100 rooftop, which was about a 3 minute walk away. I didn’t have Sheldon on me and I just needed to go back. I told the group that I need to go back and “grab something” because I’m a little embarrassed as I haven’t told them the significance of Sheldon yet. The walk back to hostel is about 15 mins, and I just followed the crowd to get here. I asked for directions back to hostel and away I went. The 15 minute walk became a 30 min walk as I got very lost. Asking for directions in Vietnamese was an interesting experience, but I found the street I needed! After grabbing Sheldon I began my journey back to the bar. Of course when I got there everybody was gone! Back to finding new travellers because it’s 10pm and I’m not even thinking of going to sleep without a Sheldon picture. I’ve become committed to the cause. I left the bar and began to wander the streets nearby. This is when I ran into these two mates I roomed with in Saigon for a night.
Meet Aron and Mike: these two were the ones who had bought the motorcycles off my friends Nik and Muz, as they had finished their trip from Hanoi to Saigon whereas Aron and Mike are beginning theirs in opposite direction. Aron is from Australia and Mike from England. Aron is all bandaged up from not one, but two motorcycle accidents from Mui Ne to Dalat. The two accidents came within an hour of each other too so it was a rough journey for Aron so far.
After some high-fives and laughs, I asked where they were headed – “100 rooftop bar” Mike says. Okay round two, let’s go. Surely I can’t lose my “group” now right?
We walk into the bar and I ran into Gary, an Austrian man I met during my cu chi tunnel tour in Saigon. Okay sweet, group of 4 now. So Gary, Aron, and Mike ordered their drinks at the bar first. They then said they’ll be outside waiting for me. After I get my beers I go outside and my gosh, I freaking lost my group. So 100 rooftop bar is like an insanely designed bar. It’s got about 5 floors, with the main, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor being very small and tight. The basement is where it gets super awesome. It’s a cave downstairs and you need to crawl to get to various open spots to sit down and have a drink. And there’s no lights in some stretches so you need to use flashlight to see where you go. The pub actually hosts a hide-and-seek game every night because of this. Determined to not lose any more people tonight, I went on a mission. Assuming they went downstairs into the cave, I crawled and found a section where a group of friends were drinking. So I sat down, introduced myself, told them my situation and like a good Wolfpack, they take one in. So i chat and drink with this group, which included two Canadians, until we all decide to go upstairs to the top floor. When we arrived upstairs I saw Aron and Mike. We exchanged some F bombs before settling down with our group of now 10+ backpackers. Aron, Mike, and I then left for food and I ended up taking them to the same spot I was at earlier in the evening.
This time around, we met a group of Finnish mates, a Ukraine woman, and a Russian woman. We all exchanged Facebook (because this is what all backpackers do to message each other when wifi is around) then went our separate ways. A few mins into our walk I realized I hadn’t pay! I thought about just continuing moving on as they would never find me but I couldn’t do it. Mike and Aron waited as I ran back to go pay. They appreciated my honesty and in return I asked if I could snap a quick pic of the cook and server with Sheldon! It was around 1am now and my bus for the tour tomorrow picks me up at 8am. I didn’t even get back home until 145 because I took a wrong turn. And this city is so much different than what I’ve been used to. The streets were completely dead and dark. I’d be lying if I wasn’t kind of sketched out. And I’m still on that ‘no taxi to get to walking distance places’ so that is not an option.