Surprisingly, we actually liked Da Lat despite the cold weather. This is probably because it was colonised by the French and felt a bit like Val D’ Isere.
We had the good fortune of being recommended a hostel run by an overtly homosexual Vietnamese man called Rot, whom we agreed to accompany on a motorbike tour to meet his family. It did not disappoint.
We met in the foyer at 7am and were rushed outside to begin the morning ritual, which I can only liken to a GCSE drama game. Gathering in a circle, we joined hands and Rot started to do the can can… we knew this was going to be good.
Helmeted up to the max and looking like toad of toad hall we motored into the hills. First stop was a cricket farm where we were introduced to Rot’s sister, the cricket whisperer. She began to wai incomprehensively, explaining that she was singing to intice her imaginary boyfriend - whether or not he is a cricket is inconclusive. The cricket whisperer told us that we could be movie stars in Vietnam, and at first we were very flattered. This was until she explained that the archetypal Vietnamese movie star is fat, white, has frog eyes and a big nose.
Rot loves to play tricks and spent most of the day with his hand up our dresses trying to tickle us. After explaining that a very deadly poisonous green snake lives in the trees, Rot plunged into the forest and threw a snake at me, sending me hurtling into the wilderness with wild abandon. It subsequently transpired that the rubber snake is one of Rot’s many comedy props.
We were then shoved into a hut with three toothless old broads for a bit of old fashioned poverty tourism, where I was delighted to discover that Arabella means pubic hair in tribal Vietnamese.
It cannot go without mention that we were also lucky enough to witness a woman as old as time perform a cover of Lady GaGa’s bad romance. She will forever more be known as ‘top broad’.