This is my third visit to the cool mountain region of Dalat, an old French colonial town where wealthy residents of Vietnam had gone to escape the heat. Vietnam had been under French rule for 200 years and before that controlled by China. Only after the end of “the American War,” as it’s called here, Vietnam was finally free from control of another country. Perhaps it’s these influences that have made the people here so incredibly resilient. Folks seem to love Americans and are eager to learn about Western customs and culture.
After Beth and I settled into our hotel, we went out for a evening stroll through the local market. An Australian father with his family stopped and asked me for directions. At the end of our conversation he said, “Good luck tomorrow.” Puzzled at first, Beth and I realized he was talking about the American presidential election the following day. Only half joking, he said he was tired of the Aussie news broadcasts covering nothing but our election process. I felt on the other side of the world that election day and, thank God, I was.
Later we stopped to enjoy a local specialty of grilled rice paper filled with yummy stuff. We sat amongst a group of hungry, twenty-something year old backpackers and and savored our new found treats. Travel adventure makes me feel young again– hence this crazy picture of me under the sign with Apple’s Tim Cook.
We hired a local guide and driver to show us Dalat’s surrounding areas. The mountains and valleys are covered in pine trees- just delightful- and it’s in this area where cut flowers, fruits and vegetables are grown.
I visited my first “bottle Temple” in Thailand ten years ago. On this trip I again visited a temple built out of old bottles and broken porcelain. This place was amazing! They built a huge snake that rolled up and down, seemingly as though to attack Buddha, but instead the snake comes up from behind and hovers overhead, watching and protecting Buddha. Each day I have learned a little more about a fascinating culture.
BTW, the two little boy figures are NOT Nazi kids, they are Hindu. Hitler appropriated and changed the ancient religious swastika symbol from Hinduism and Buddhism.
Next stop…. on to Hội An, and to have some custom clothing made.