My favourite part of today was finally arriving at Linh Phuoc Pagoda. It was a beautiful bicycle ride with great views looking down at valleys of farm fields and smoking mountains in the distance. But great views means great heights and pedalling up 8 kms meant a few breaks for water and some smiles from the lucky people speeding by on their motos. But also, what goes up, must come down and I even ended up passing others down the long slope. It was awesome, even knowing that I'd have to take the same road back to town.
I arrived ready for a snack and asked a woman what she had hidden underneath her silver pot's lid. They looked like clear wontons with a shrimp paste inside some and a yellow something in the others. Served cold in a clear sauce they were delicious. After looking at Buddha, I was then invited over by two friendly men eating something like yogurt. In 2 seconds I was sitting on a little stool at their little table, had a cup of this white pudding substance, a cup of tea, and we all laughed about Vietnam traffic and cold Canadian winters.
Then it was time to climb up the pagoda. A spiral staircase covered with broken tea cups, saucers, vases and bottles. The colourful glass and patterned ceramics crunched beneath my feet and fragments fell on my head from floors above. No "under constuction" or "do not enter" signs to be seen. Guys were chipping away, moulding these pieces into tiles that fit into the wall's mosaic of flowers and dragons. I squeezed through scaffolding, walked on their materials and kept asking "Is it ok for me to go up?" Yup, thumbs up, hellos and how are yous all the way! The view was spectacular, I was on top of Dalat. 1500-something metres above sea level and all I could see were rows of salad ingredients, a pastel Catholic style graveyard, stacked French styled homes and the hilly horizon spiralling all around. I ended the day with another bowl of pho. Shared another little table with a family this time, the sweet 2 year old delighted to wave to a stranger. P