December 17, 2016

Plus 1 trip to Vietnam day 2: hello, Buddha

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After a pretty good night's sleep, we woke up early, took a quick dip in the villa plunge pool, and headed out to the restaurant for brekkie to begin our second day at Princess D'Ân Nam Resort and Spa.

The the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the thought of relaxing by the water put smiles on our faces.

Our amuse bouche this morning.  A healthy start to the day!

The pastry basket looked decent, so I took a pain au chocolat.  The layers were pretty flaky - especially on top.  The center was a little more moist than I would normally prefer, but hey... we're at a seaside resort in Vietnam, not Le Salon de The de Joël Robuchon.

When in Vietnam, drinking Vietnamese coffee seems de rigeur. Cà phê sữa nóng seemed to hit the spot.  They didn't serve us the coffee with the traditional phin on top, but that didn't affect the taste one bit.  Love it with sweetened condensed milk.  And once you get past the sweetness, you'll actually realize how strong the coffee really is...

Breakfast is the perfect time for a bowl of phở bò.  Here the bowl is served with cooked slices of beef, beef shank, and meatballs.  The broth here was much, much better than what we had on the road yesterday - the nước mắm was much less obvious.  I had never been served phở with hoisin sauce before, but today I experimented by adding a little bit of it into the broth, along with a bit of chili sauce.

Last night I told Michael that I was going to go through all the ice creams on the menu, so there was no reason not to have ice cream at breakfast.  The coffee and Cognac ice cream was pretty decent - and actually perfect in the morning!

After we were done with breakfast, Be took us on a tour of a nearby attraction. Linh Sơn Trường Thọ Pagoda sits on Mount Tà Cú, and is home to Vietnam's longest reclining Buddha.  Upon arrival at the foot of the mountain, we were ferried to the cable car station, and rode the cable car up the side of the mountain, then part way down the other side.

Getting off the cable car at the other end, we come to the part of the forest inhabited by lots of monkeys.  I have an intense dislike for monkeys who hang around touristy areas, thanks to a nasty experience at Pura Uluwatu in Bali, so I kept my distance.  Be brought a whole bag of bread from the resort and tossed them at the monkeys.  You've never seen such greedy animals...

After Be and Hello Kitty finished feeding, we started our hike up to our destination.  The shrine is supposed to have been built around the year 1880.  Those stone steps can be pretty steep...

At the end of our climb, we finally reached the reclining Buddha - completed in 1966 and recently repainted.  The statue is 49 meters long to represent the 49 days Buddha spent meditating under the bodhi tree.

After spending a little time here to enjoy the tranquility - broken by the conversations of the tourists - we make our way back down and head back to the resort.  The cable car ride was just as enjoyable going down as coming up.  Mostly silence during the trip, other than the sounds of birds and the faint noise of the wheels above us.

Binh Thuan Province - the region that the resort is located in - is the large producing region of dragon fruit in the country.  We saw lots of dragon fruit trees on our way to the resort yesterday, and we asked our driver to stop along the road so we could take some pictures of the fruit on the trees.

Dragon fruits belong to the cactus family, and are green when unripe.  The farmers grow them year-round, and when the weather is too cool to ripen the fruit, farmers turn on the lights that have been installed around each tree at night - apparently putting a strain on the national electric grid.

After ripening, this particular cultivar (Hylocereus undatus) turns red on the outside.

It was a little late by the time we got back to the resort, and finally time for some lunch.

We started with some baguettes, which were done Vietnamese style... meaning they were pretty puffy and airy on the inside while the exteriors were thin and crispy.  These were served with some cucumber and yogurt dip.

I wanted a bành mì but was having a difficult time deciding between two of the options.  In the end I opted for the   bành mì với thịt nguội và phô mai as curiosity got the best of me.

The sandwich seems to have been made with some ham and Brie, and tasted kinda like a French jambon-beurre... except for the presence of lettuce and tomatoes... and the fact that this baguette isn't French.  Very nice, but maybe I should have gotten the version with beef and lemongrass...

Gỏi cuốn tôm, thịt, phục vụ với rau thơm, mắm đậu phộng - Hello Kitty started with these fresh rice paper rolls with prawns, pork, cooked egg, and herbs inside.  These were dipped in a hot and sour peanut dip.  Very, very delicious.

She also had some clay pot braised pork belly, which were pretty tasty.

Another meal, another opportunity to sample more ice cream.  I picked only two for lunch...

Dark chocolate with orange zest and Cointreau - definitely tasted the orange zest.

Chocolate brownies with Baileys and ginger - I was wondering why I would need a set of knife and fork for my ice cream, but then I realized that this scoop came on top of a brownie...

Now that our bellies were full, it was time to go for our massage treatment at the resort spa...


Anonymous said...

The reason why monkeys hang around tourist areas are due to morons like you feeding them.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Asshole here. Obviously I stand corrected and note that you didn’t personally feed them (sole reason being, you state, is that you don’t like them) but the rest of your party DID including your idiotic partner “Hello Kitty” as well as your guide, where it appears to be a regular feature of the tour. So, in my book you have to share some responsibility. Whatever. Please educate your friend accordingly and inform the hotel to cease such activity. Feeding wildlife on processed crap is wrong on every level.

Peech said...

Hi, Asshole, thanks for your help in educating us. I don't feed wildlife any processed food, and as a matter of fact I actively discourage friends from feeding senbei to all those deer roaming around Nara Park, as it disrupts the regular food chain and is detrimental to the ecosystem.

The only person who was actively feeding the monkeys was our guide from the resort. and Hello Kitty helped her throw out a couple of pieces of bread so that our guide could finish the job quicker and won't have to carry the bread back to the resort. The fourth person in our party also was not feeding any bread to the monkeys. We are, in general, responsible tourists. But having never met any of us, you wouldn't know that, would you?!


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