From Da Lat Mountains to San Francisco Valley- Nomadic Family Travel Blog For Long Term Budget World Travel With Kids
After seven long months in Cambodia, we finally crossed borders and went on to Vietnam. Though it is still a neighboring country, the culture differences are humongous. We got used to the niceness of the Cambodians, we got used to the Khmer language, and we got used to just living there. We do miss Cambodia dearly. Our first exposure to Vietnam was through Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Though the city is fascinating in many ways, we found it very energy-consuming. The massive traffic that does not let you cross the street [watch the video below], the never-ending vendors that bother you every 2nd inch of the way, and the overpriced everything that we had been buying for much cheaper in Cambodia.
And when you ask why this costs five times more then your neighboring country, you get the same reply “this is Vietnam and not Cambodia”. They are right in a way but still, this is not Europe as well. So, after a few nights in HCMC, we excitedly arrived to Da Lat, in the highlands of Vietnam. We fell in love in this place the moment we got off the bus! Besides the surrounding mountains, the awesome nature all around, and the great local market, we love the weather here. The weather in Da Lat is cold and sunny and makes you want to open your nostrils wide, and it reminded me of the time we visited San Francisco, California back in the days when our kids were still listening to us.
After traveling for a few weeks in California, we were cut off guard from the cold weather of San Francisco. It was, if I remember correctly, around May or June and we assumed it would be as hot as Los Angeles. I remember getting out of the van at the Fishermen’s Warf that afternoon as a stream of chill attacked my body and I could truly feel my bones freeze. I guess that many tourists that are ignorant to the weather conditions face what we did. And the best part was that just around the corner you could see the many stores that sell jackets and other winter-oriented clothing to meet the needs of the unprepared visitors. Without a second thought, we purchased a set of warm outfit for each of us.
Besides this cold event, we enjoyed the city in an amazing way. We randomly ended up in Yerba Buena Gardens (beautiful!) and enjoyed a great free concert by an Israeli band in honor of the Israeli Independent Day celebration. We had a blast! And since we were traveling with an old Coleman pop-up camper trailer, we found a cool camp site just on the other side the Golden Gate Bridge. As per as usual budget adventure mentality, we ended up camping. There are tons of great campgrounds and RV parks in the San Francisco area.
Oh… and since the city is build on hills with very steep roads, remember to park your vehicle’s wheels facing the sidewalk or you will face a decent ticket by the local authority. As a person who lived in flat Houston for many years, I learned this the hard way, the pocket way.
As I sit here in Da Lat, Vietnam’s Bihn Yen amazing hotel and write this post, my heart is filled with joy by remembering beautiful and breezy San Francisco and the great times we had exploring her.
Have you ever been in San Francisco in the summer and were surprised by the cold? Have you ever been to a new city and felt like your soul knew it from somewhere else? Ever thought Vietnam would be like California? (We didn’t.) Would love to hear your thoughts.
We’re off to explore the Crazy House, the Flower Gardens, and some cool waterfall in Da Lat. If you like our little adventures and like us (which we you!), please share this post on Facebook, SU, Twitter, whaterver. It helps us so much!
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (San Francisco)
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Golden Gate Bridge)
Image courtesy of porbital at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Alamo Square, San Francisco)
Image courtesy of Damian Brandon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (San Francisco)