Biking Through Vietnam

March 13, 2012

Day 5 – To Lake Lak

Filed under: Uncategorized — scribblygum @ 5:17 am

This is a very busy day with several stops along the road. We visit a coffee plantation, then a café which serves the local coffee (delicious). They also do coffee that has been digested by civet cats (in cages out the back), plus they produce rice wine which they ‘fortify’ with snakes – it’s not a day for the fainthearted.


We call in at a silk factory, a major buddhist temple, a floating village on an inland river, and are welcomed to Lake Lak by the local hill tribe M’Nong people and their version of rice wine.


Lake Lak Resort has weird hot water but the lake is beautiful in the morning mist. After the morning mist clears we go off riding elephants across the lake.


There are many more photos than I can reasonably post in the thread but you can chase up the album of the day here – [url][/url]


First up, some pics as we ride away from the Crazy House and out of town.





You can see that Kay is suffering from the general pollution and has a mask.



Dalat is a big centre for flowers, there are greenhouses all around it before it changes to coffee plantations.




Coffee Plantation


Coffee trees now cover whole hillsides.


The trees are low growing (they actually prefer being the understory in a rainforest).

The beans are covered by a shiny husk. But you already knew that.


Here is one house in the lower area of the plantation.


And a very fancy house up the hillside in the same plantation.

Perhaps a bit of worker/owner sociology showing up.



We are passed by another motorbike tour group.



This bridge must be quite a slip hazard in wet weather.

About fifty metres of skinny shiny steel mesh.



Rice Wine Still





The flavour was pretty neutral, a bit like vodka, and it had a bit of a kick.

There is no technology in the production so alcohol strength is only a guess.



Weasel Coffee.


The ‘weasel’ is actually a civet cat.

They are poor sad scared looking animals. I can’t imagine their conditions being legal in Oz.

Australia has banned the importation of ‘weasel’ coffee.



Here is what it looks like when the ‘weasel’ is finished with it.

From here is it dried, washed, roasted, and sold at exorbitant prices.



The effect of the digestion is to produce shorter enzyme chains, which results in less bitterness. Or so say the Wikipedia articles.

We tasted both weasel coffee and non-weasel coffee in this place. Both were delicious and there was a difference.

But you’d have to be drinking it for quite a while to be able to pick one from the other.



The gang of idiots gives it a try.



Snake wine.


The rice wine still in the earlier photos is out the back of this coffee shop.

You turn rice wine into snake wine not by allowing the snake to drink it and pee it out – quite a different process from weasel coffee.

All you need to do is add a snake or two.

Laura was often first to try anything.



Golden Stig gets up close and personal.



And here is the owner of the place, proud to be seen in such esteemed company.



On to the Silk Factory




Silk worm cocoons, Sorry about the shake of the camera.


Here the cocoons are unwound after soaking in hot water. The silk ends up on the spools up above.



Inside the cocoon is the silk worm, now dead. He gets eaten for dinner.



Lunch time.



The finished product.


The silk is woven into fabric. The pattern is controlled by the endless belt of punch cards top left.

This loom was made in 1928 and is still going strong. The factory had several of them.



This is the punch card loop up close.



Golden Stig checks out the ties. After all, a neck is one of the few body parts he has.


These women are embroidering the silk. Wonderful work and very fine.




Buddhist Monastery





An unexpected sight was the votive offerings you can see stacked up on the blue porcelain vases.

They are stacks of empty soft drink cans, carefully glad-wrapped to stop them from blowing down.



Those of you who have seen Taikoz will know these drums.

This one is about eight feet to the top rim.



Out the back is the Happy Buddha. About forty feet high.


Golden Stig likes being in the company of round headed people.



Along the road.




These rotary hoe machines hooked up to a trailer are a common sight along the farming roads.

New coffee trees planted on the right.


So are wandering animals, although they seem to know not to go too far onto the bitumen.



Floating Village.


We pulled up on this bridge. It’s across one end of a lake.


Down below us was this village.






This guy has a Honda pump motor on the boat, with the very long shaft connected to a propellor.

When he’s operating it the prop sits a long way behind the boat to get the proper drive angle.



Along the way.


We pulled up for the view into the valley when this work crew came down the hill.

Our camera has failed again and these are taken with my phone, so there’s no allowance for movement etc.




Lake Lak


We got to Lake Lak resort late in the day.

By very clever photography this photo has early morning light. Take no notice, just pretend it’s late arvo.

Oh yeah, the camera is working again this morning.



We were welcomed to the village by the local hill tribe people who live there.

Lak Lake Resort has a commitment to employ over 50% of its staff from the hill tribe people.


These photos are taken with my phone (remember my camera was not working yesterday)

and so the light is not good. The phone’s flash is a dull affair indeed.






Welcoming ceremony with rice wine produced in the little still in the middle.

They pour fresh water into it as the guests suck on the reed straw.



Our cabin





This is the shower in our bathroom.


It appears to be something left over from the Soviet era.

Our first room had no hot water so they moved us to here.


This room had vaguely warm water. And this shower.

The many spa jet nozzles didn’t work. Nor did the giant shower head.

The little hand shower worked. As long as you didn’t want hot.


The fancy circular sliding doors worked. The seal around the doors didn’t work.



Golden Stig can have a shower without even getting wet.

He can do anything he sets his mind to.



The lake.


The view from our room.







Local canoe. It seems to be made from a single bamboo shaft that has been split and shaped.


Getting ready to ride out the next morning.



Kay tries the local silk scarf as defense against the dust etc.





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