A Crazy Day in Da Lat
Today’s blog reminds me of Gnarls Barkley’s song Crazy “Does that make me crazy? Probably… And I hope that you are having the time of your life” We certainly are!
First thing in the morning, Jac popped off to church. She arrived late to find that the service was in Vietnamese. She had wondered why a European man was wearing some headphones, and it wasn’t until the end of the service that she discovered that the church provided these with an English translator.
A lovely young man, Thomas, introduced himself with perfect English and made Jac feel at home, staying in touch with her in case he could do anything for us during our stay.
Jac has quickly experienced that we meet the most fabulous people while travelling. It’s all about being open and chatting to strangers; something Jac is brilliant at, and for us, a joy to observe her connecting with people so easily.
Via WhatsApp, Jac let us know she was on her way back. Meanwhile, Tim chatted to a lovely young couple from Australia with a delightful three-year-old daughter, Florence, who preferred to be called Princess Jasmine. Tim hooted when the young lady shared that when she first met her future mother-in-law here in Vietnam, she tried to say in Vietnamese that she loved eating crab. Unfortunately, she said the word using the incorrect tone, hence instead of crab, she said penis!
One hour later, we began to wonder where Jac was, so Tim went off to search. And then Jac turned up with tales of dogs and cats chasing her down alleyways, and an older man offering her a tour on the back of his bike!
Eventually, the three of us were together again. Phew! I suggested that after a coffee we visited the Crazy House. We were intrigued.
The Crazy House
Oh my, The Crazy House really is crazy. We even heard a couple of other travellers looking around commenting how crazy it was. Imagine several buildings styled for a fantasy production of Alice in Wonderland designed by Gaudi and Dali on wacky-backy!
The surrealist structures were like concrete trees intertwined with vines that created narrow bridges linking the different houses at roof level. No way would this ever get near planning permission in the UK! With its continuous renovations and expansions, the whole complex is spreading, reminding me of bindweed. I can imagine the whole of the city being swallowed up by this place within the next 50 years! It was such fun zooming around, always surprised at what was around the corner with spiders-web covering windows and columns disguised as corkscrew-shaped shells.
What’s more, you can stay here! (See Booking.com). Perhaps it would be fun for one night, but I’m not sure about tourists looking through our bedroom window while we’d have a lazy morning.
This whole Crazy House was conceived by Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga, who studied in Moscow. She wanted to bring people back to nature, to respect it, rather than destroy it.
The central part of the place was built between 1990 and 2010; however, there is still a lot of construction taking place at the rear. It seems as if the architect cannot stop her vision from growing. Dr Dang Viet Nga had, in the past, run out of money, and then had the idea to sell tickets to visit her fabulous creation. At just 60,000 vnd (£2) it was well worth the visit.
We did wonder how she managed to get permission to build this fairy-tale place. I have not a clue if this has anything to do with it, but her father was Truong Chinh, Ho Chi Minh's successor, and Vietnam's second president from 1981 until his death in 1988. Just saying!
Le Chalet Restaurant
Afterwards, Tim suggested we ate at Le Chalet, which happened to be straight opposite the Crazy House. The ambience and food were delightful, so much so that we returned in the evening as they had some live music. We were quite concerned about the painting of Mr T in the cigar room, so Jac turned it around.
In the evening, the painting had been turned back, and we did overhear other guests commenting about the portrait with similar disgust!
Despite this, it was wonderfully relaxing, listening to old classics like Andy Williams’ Love Story and Frank Sinatra’s My Way, with some Abba and Beatles melodies. I’m not sure that the rest of the diners thought much of our crooning, but we had a crazily great time.