So the following will be a picture entry because I think that’s the best way to describe the past weekend. Before I get into it, a few things to note:
Today (4/30) is a National Holiday. Quick – history buffs, guess why.
This evening a bunch of us went out for pizza at one of the two Pizza Huts in all of Vietnam (both of which are in District 1 of HCMC). The pizza was amazing, but the real kicker about this whole dinner was that: Pizza Hut is fancy here. You won’t believe it, but put it into perspective: 50,000 VND for a small personal pan pizza is out of reach of most Saigonese who could eat a filling meal for 10,000 VND or less. It is so fancy and popular that the waitress asked us why we didn’t make a reservation.
Uh, maybe because it’s Pizza Hut?
So, pictures. We went to Buôn Ma Thuột to learn about the Hmong, ride elephants, and visit a coffee plantation. After a very long, occasionally terrifying drive on Friday (picture speeding through the curvy highland roads where people don’t decide to move the extra foot needed to pass each other until this last minute), we went to Buôn Ma Thuột National Park on Saturday. The Vietnamese idea of a National Park is quite different from mine. To me, National Park = Yellowstone. Or Arcadia. To the Vietnamese, it means “kitschy touristy place with a man-made lake.” But, there were elephants, wine, and dancing, so I suppose it fulfilled expectations in some way.
Much later in the day, a large bonfire was made and traditional Hmong dancers and musicians did their thing.
Joe and Nathan show the Hmong how dancing is really done.
I don’t normally post such bad photos, but this picture of Kara and Nguyet was amusing.
Kenzie (left) doesn’t know this picture is being taken. Nghan is my roommate.
Nick, Ivy, Kara, Nguyet, and Kenzie
In case you were wondering where your coffee comes from. Also, 1 kilo of coffee beans = 20,000 VND for the farmer. =~$1.25 / kilo.
How marked up is your coffee and how much actually goes to the farmer?
They were amused by us. Coffee plantation boys.
Lastly – waterfalls near BMT.