We’ve had a lot of unique experiences since moving to Vietnam, including meeting my family and living in a very friendly neighborhood. These things never fail. We had another unique experience during our trip to Da Lat. We expected to see a different, cooler side of Vietnam, which we did. Da Lat is located in the central highlands of Vietnam and sits in the middle of mountains. Therefore, the weather is a lot cooler than any other section of the southern part of Vietnam. I actually had to buy a sweater, hat and gloves! We did most of the touristy things – we went to the flower garden, the crazy house (which is comparable to some of Antonio Gaudi’s architecture, which I am a fan of) and some waterfalls and temples. Da Lat is really beautiful and is another unexpected geographical area in Vietnam.

What made our experience unique is that we went with a Vietnamese friend, Huong whom we met in Saigon. She is from Da Lat, but when she says Da Lat, she means the countryside. We started our journey to her house after an afternoon of sightseeing. It was definitely an unexpected adventure. We were aware that the ride was supposed to be about an hour and a half. But, we didn’t know that we would be driving on a dirt road with jagged rocks for an hour! And the worst part was that we went by motorbike! It was pretty scary driving along the mountains and on bumpy dirt roads. However, Randy did a great job at controlling the bike and Kristi was safe with our friend’s sister who is an experienced driver through this terrain. She goes to university in Da Lat and drives with luggage all of the time.

If Huong, who goes to university in Saigon, goes home, it’s for a long trip – obviously because the ride is so long! It’s totally worth it though. It was clear that this family is very close to one another. They value their time together and help with the family business. Huong’s parents own a coffee farm. They have land that stretches for about a square kilometer or more. They also grow avocado and other fruit and vegetables. Randy, Kristi and I actually got to help them on the farm. We picked the coffee beans off of the tree branches and let them fall onto a tarp. Huong’s family is very hard working. Her father who has only one arm still works all day, even in his bare feet! He is definitely an admirable man who has raised a great family. In addition, he and his wife let us stay at their house for a night. She’s a great cook. She fed us food such as hot Chè (sweet soup) that made me feel better, because Kristi and I were sick.

We’re very grateful that our friend, Huong, took her time to show us around Da Lat, but especially thankful that we got to stay at her house, meet her family and see how different Vietnamese people live. Thank you Huong!

This is the view from the toilet, which is outside.

Kristi and Huong packed with luggage and bananas while driving along the mountains