Old Boy is a true baller and booked a room at the third best ranked hotel in the city called Ana Mandera. It's so bad ass that the prime minister of Singapore and Thailand both stayed there. The room was the best hotel I've stayed in in my entire life. Individual French built villas accessible by golf cart. Since check in wasn't until noon we managed to find a 15 dollar hotel just to sleep until morning. It was pretty shitty with no warm water or heater. This whole thing reminded me of childhood in California.
I was expecting more fog when I woke up, but I was met with a light drizzle. Da Lat's skies changes at a moment's notice. One second it was dark and the next the sun appeared brightly. It's easy to get a sun burn up here so be careful. Gloomy days are the worse days. I made sure to layer up because I was genuinely cold. It was great to wear a track jacket again and I almost forgot how cold feet felt like.
We ate the Da Lat market a few steps away after wandering around for a little bit. There's an upstairs cafeteria with delicious food. Now the food didn't feel very fresh, but having barely eaten anything the previous few days, I didn't mind. Old Boy and I ordered drinks and plates and plates upon food. Eating bun and canh and shit like that in the cold was perfect. We had appetites and we weren't slowing down. We bought a box of mediocre strawberries for two days and killed it almost entirely by the Xuan Huong Lake. The last time I was there the lake was drained for refurbishment.
Pure craziness ensued. It was really fun. The wild game was expensive but definitely worth it. We definitely felt more masculine after eating porcupine. Bao Dai's House was pretty boring the first time around. The second time I almost forgot that it was a monumental site with all the picture opportunity bullshit in the front. Lang Biang Mountain was definitely cool. The taxi ride from the center of town was a tad expensive, but the view looking down was worth it. We didn't have time for any waterfalls. Instead, we opted to visit the French area which was pretty disappointing. The night culminated at the market where we aimlessly chose yakitori and oc without asking for the price. Old Boy really knows how to ball it up in Vietnam.
When we got back to the hotel it was easy times ahead. I reconfirmed with the hotel receptionist that Old Boy and I weren't a gay couple. She didn't believe us. We spent the night living a life of luxury; bathing in a bathtub, wearing robes, eating chocolates on the side of the bed, drinking Italian wines and eating more shell fish, asking for buckets of ice, washing strawberries in the sink. Then we had to wake up at 4 in the morning to catch a bus back to Saigon before two o'clock. Like I said, this isn't the best way to experience Da Lat. Oh well, we both didn't have time.
The bus ride back was especially miserable. The night's activities put a number on Old Boy and he vomited six times. Eventually, the driver got very mad at us because he said I was a bad tour guide. I barked back that I wasn't a tour guide. I guess everywhere I go with a camcorder ignorant local fucks are going to think I'm a tour guide even when I told them I wasn't. If I'm traveling with John they will both think we are arrogant and talking smack on them because we speak English to each other. When the driver yelled at me I kept telling him I wasn't a local Vietnamese and that I couldn't understand what he was saying. There are plenty of northerners in Lam Dong province and plenty from Da Lat. After a bit of yelling back and forth I eventually cooled off by taking off my jacket. We had already descended back to the lowlands and I felt low again.
I'm including some screen captures of the short film we produced titled, "Pine Comb". I can't wait to start working on it. In the mean time, I'm working on the Thailand video from three months earlier, and Burma, Cambodia, and Tay Ninh will follow.