Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Greetings from the Central Highlands. What Pin Oo Lwin was to Burma, Dalat is to Vietnam. Except of course it was Frenchies instead of Brits who came here to cool off back in colonial days. And now I am cooling off! Which is good because after a brief stop in the Mekong Delta, I can actually attest to the physical sensation of "melting."

Last night's bus was not quite as terrifying as the one I took down south. The driver didn't seem in such a rush. It did smell like durian though. For the folks back home, durian is a pungent fruit with a delightful custard-like texture that smells like a garbage can full of rotting fruit. I've overcome the smell, I like it. However, bringing one on a bus, especially one people must sleep on, is super not cool, signs like this are common in taxis and other public spaces in Malaysia and Thailand. There was a Chinese family on the bus and the mother started repeatedly, desperately yelling at one of the attendants, "NO DURIAN! NO DURIAN" as we took off, but the guy couldn't find the durian. No one fessed.

I got in at 4am and crashed. I woke up and had a delicious lunch at the central market and walked around taking pictures. At dinner, I got to cross an item off the fantasy-gluttony bucket list (i.e. a whole pint of ice cream, the whole tin of fudge...). I went to barbecue by myself because James recommended a restaurant. I ate a whole plate of beef. I may never need to eat meet again. 

It was one of those cook-your-own places. This one you cooked the food over coals topped with a ceramic tile. Or in my case, a waitress cooked my food for me, presumably because I was alone and looked like I might poison myself. 

Tomorrow I'm starting a three-day motorcycle tour of the highlands with this outfit (another activity that came highly recommended by friends and fellow travelers). Vroom, vroom... (Don't worry, I'm not driving.)

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