Friday, December 05, 2008

Wind in my face at 47 km/h

Nadine and I emailed our mothers this morning with the horrific announcement that we were riding on motorbikes for the day.

Before venturing out we were treated to a breakfast replete with all of the fruits of the region: dragonfruit, passion fruit, papaya, mango and the only native strawberries in Vietnam. Good jam.

We did not ride the bikes ourselves but went on a tour with two guys from a group called Dalat Easy Riders who took us out of the city for the rural wealth of this lush part of the country. Dalat is in an area that used to be an active volcano and with that topography and its unique highland climate is home to a wide variety of agriculture. During our journey today we visited a coffee plantation, strawberry orchards, a silk maker where we could view the entire process from cocoon to loom (the socialists are ready to accuse me of some sort of sacrilege for that one), a greenhouse with oodles of roses and gerberas and AHEM... a cricket farm. Nadine's skin crawled and I struggled to figure out how many crickets went into the 350kg they produce a year.

The day ended off with the slightly HA, slightly phantasmagoric Crazy House. It is a Tim Burton movie set built by a woman who has a PhD in Architecture. I am not sure whether to regard it as evidence of how architectural training is resulting in worse and worse architecture or if it is a sign of playful whimsy that one would expect to miss in a communist country. Tomorrow we will wander around Dalat and firm up our plans for the rest of the trip.

As we