Eddy dropped me off pretty early in Dalat and when I checked into my room, my roomies were sleeping. Later I found out that they were catching up with sleep since they did the canyoning tour that day.
In the common area, I met some people before having the family dinner. One girl looked Asian but spoke native English. She has a tattoo on her inner forearm with 司徒 on it. It was not a beautiful handwriting, so I was wondering how that came to be but didn’t have a chance to ask. One girl called Anna is running a blog and later when I got to read it, her posts are really 流水账 where they are all simple descriptive texts of what happened. (none judgmental since mine might not be better)
After the dinner, I went for a smoke outside where I met the chilled Dutch roomies Jacky and Melissa on their gap years (if I remember correctly). We ended up even doing some abs exercises the next day. That became the running gag between us.
When I stepped back in for the free awesome piano plus violin concert in the hostel, this is when I sat next to Mai / May. She lost her husband and is now travelling (to deal with it). With her own words, losing her husband “sucks dick”. I can’t imagine how much that sucked, but that snapped me out of my problems for sure. She grew up in a west Africa country which name I forgot and moved with her parents to South Africa as refugees since civil war broke out there (her parent worked as agricultural advisers). Now she is an asset manager in Capetown who has the freedom to invest the money in meaningful projects such as funding of a local church. She is travelling with her cousin who lives in Ho Chi Minh City and rarely travels. He is a chilled dude actually and has 2 kids who are living in Taiwan withe their mom. May convinced me to take the canyoning tour next day and later even convinced me once more to extend one night to do the secret tour. Both of which are the best things in Dalat instead of going around the city.
The canyoning tour includes up-sailings, water sliding, jumping off a cliff of 7 meters (which I never did before). What stressed me out a bit was the fact that when water comes into the lenses and you have a feeling that you might have lost them. A psychological thing… But the whole tour fits well into the theme of “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
The secret tour is a really cultural one and if you are in Dalat, definitely do it! If you wanna know more, PM me ofc. And on the way Mai would speak thoroughly about her knowledge gained in research about food and the unhealthiness of sugar. But she is not only knowledgeable but also can sort of let go as well when drinking beer. That made her so all around and likable (that comes also with experience I guess).
During the two tours I also met Tylor (young Canadian guy travelling for quite some time, riding the bike to the north, he told me stories about how he doesn’t feel connected to his friends back in his town who don’t want to go out and see the world), Valerie (anthropology student from Graz who I met in Saigon again), Luisa (Argentina girl who I have not found out a lot about), Lorena (German student), Becky, Josh (sweet Winnipeg couple), Andi (also a German student from Mainz, a pretty energetic guy and interested in general), a German guy who lost his bag incl his passport on the road to Dalat (he lost the bag on the road, realized a few km after, went back but the bag was not there anymore), Saskia (who is out travelling with her boyfriend still in NL) and others.
I even went out the night before the secret tour to a club called rain. The music has some weird basslines that is specific in Vietnam. I ll try to upload it later.
Also the maze bar is really cool! With decorations like the Crazy House it is a good place to spend the evening. I also met one girl from Hoi An whom got called old when the 18 year old German boy was asking her age. Andi met some people from Saigon and there was one guy who got laid off whose job ironically was to lay people off (HR i guess) back in the UK.
Me, in hsipaw still recovering and getting better and ready to go to Kalaw.