Saturday, 29 April 2017

Day 23: Rest and Culture

For some, our final rest day in BMT started in the early hours with getting lost on the way home from Team Karaoke. This, after Harriet had delighted all with a virtuoso performance with the microphone. Harriet is the sort of person who makes going to karaoke worthwhile – she sings with the passion and commitment of someone who’s in the shower and thinks no one’s listening.

I was saved/prevented from spending all day in bed eating coconut cream tarts by Storm who suggested we visit a nearby waterfall. (Apparently the coffee plantations were too far away to visit.) Dray Sap was 30 kilometres from the city centre but as it was meant to be a day’s respite from pedalling we opted to take a bus there. Perhaps it was general fatigue setting in, but we’d forgotten our vow never to get on one of these, having shared the road with them for three weeks. We were soon reminded of it though because, just after we boarded, it started bouncing all over the road and threatening the lives of innocent motorists. Except this time, we were the dirty collaborators on the inside, not the terrified road users clinging to the hard shoulder.

Dray Sap is the lesser of two neighbouring sets of waterfalls. The other is Dray Nur, but apparently the bridge connecting the two areas has fallen into disrepair. To access Dray Nur we’d have had to take some circuitous route that heat and laziness prevented us from doing. Nevermind, there was plenty to see at Dray Sap.

“Help me, you guys – this sucks!”
Out in the open, in a shady wood, we came upon an old elephant looking sad and solemn. She was grabbing tufts of long, dry grass with her trunk and chomping on them with all the energy of a recently tasered G20 protester; her rear leg was in irons. Adjacent to the waterfall visiting area was the sort of zoo that promises visitors the opportunity to stare at chained up bears. We did not visit the zoo.

We walked first to the top of Dray Sap to watch water flow gently towards the falls then gather and form a torrent that gushes over the rock face. Somehow, two men had climbed up to a spot of rock between the two falls and seemed to be fishing. Then we walked down, through a jungle-shaded path, to the blue-green lake at the bottom of Dray Sap for a refreshing swim, during which Keith made some more terrible puns and we tried not beat him with water bottles.

The only follow-up worthy of such an adventure was, of course, another lunch at Buon Ma Thuot KFC.

Tun, Becca and I did try to do something cultural afterwards and visit the Dak Lak Museum of Ethnology, but we were thwarted by a random power-cut to the building. On the grounds surrounding the Museum though, some scouts were having a jamboree.

Back at Rest Day HQ, the rest of the gang were having a wholesome afternoon watching the “Blues Brothers”, while Jimmy was feeling a bit smug because he’d gone to the Museum of Ethnology in the morning before it had run out of its daily ration of electricity.

Scouts learning semaphore

-- Mai Le Dinh


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