District 7 to Dalat

The bus driver shook his head “no” at my banana leaf-wrapped snacks, so I guess I will find out what’s inside them at our next stop.IMG_3606

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fish sauce-fermented, basil-wrapped pork parts?

We are three hours from Dalat. I’m excited. Today is my fifth day in Vietnam. Four days in Saigon was fun with Darrell and his expat friends. Now I am ready for a different scene alone and away from Saigon’s district 7.

We are climbing gradually through green hills and rubber tree plantations. Five km back, we passed a small river with floating, wooden homes. Roadside, there are plastic chair cafes and open-air shops but no buildings to be seen on the horizon.

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Our bus driver bonks his horn liberally for motorbikers to make way. O good fortune, this bus is a sleeper, even though we are traveling by day. The bus stop bathrooms we just left had clean water and soap, a far cry from the midnight pit stop between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, where you peed in a hole and flushed by sending a pailful of water down after.

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If we make good time, today I’ll have a few hours to poke around Dalat, known for its produce and flowers, thanks to mist-covered valleys. Tomorrow, Phat Tire Ventures will take eight others and me from Dalat to Nha Trang ~90km away.

The bike ride in Chiang Mai turned out to be the highlight of that trip, and I’m hoping for the opportunity again to see beautiful countryside and meet curious people.

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