Thursday, September 16, 2010
(PICTURE: Jed and me enjoying the Tam Dao waterfall.)
Four blogs ago, I mentioned that one of the reasons we were going to Tam Dao was because there is a very nice pool on top of the mountain. After a few hours on a motorbike, there is nothing quite as sweet as going for a dip.
Huyen and I had called the nicest hotel in Tam Dao a few days earlier to ask the price. Huyen asked if she should make a reservation and I said it wasn't necessary. You see, the last time we went to Tam Dao it was dead quiet. We had actually gone to the nicest hotel and it was almost completely empty. This experience had me thinking that we could just pull up to the hotel and get a room. Had I known that our luck was going to be horrendous, I surely would have made a reservation. Well, of course upon arrival the hotel only had one room available. This wasn't too big of a deal since Huyen and I were fine staying across the street. We told Jed and Lena that they could have the room and we would just pay the hotel money to use the pool. The problem though was that the room wasn't going to be available for about two hours. In that time, Huyen and I checked into our hotel and then came back to the nice one to have lunch.
As we walked into the restaurant, I noticed a rare sight in Vietnam-- a mentally challenged person. Over the course of my time out here, I've only seen a couple mentally challenged people. In America, it is normal to see people with mental disabilities out in public. Here for whatever reason, it's just not that common.
Anyway, Jed, Lena, Huyen and I sat at a table and began to peruse the menu. After a minute or so, Huyen and Lena headed to the bathroom to wash up. Jed and I sat at the table facing each other, my back to the pool on the floor below us. Just as we began to relax, I heard a noise that sounded like a garden hose was filling up the pool. I quickly turned around and saw that the mentally challenged guy was standing next to the pool, taking a leak into it. After three hours of motorbike breakdowns, being pulled over by the police and two accidents, this was the cherry on top. I blurted out, "Are you serious? Jed, check this out." Jed got up from his seat and looked out the window behind me. As we both stared at this man taking a long pee, three Vietnamese guests at the pool began to shout, "No! No! No!" The man, god bless his soul, didn't have a clue he was doing anything in the least bit wrong. Jed and I just smiled at each other knowing that our luck could not be any worse. Just then Lena and Huyen walked up and we told them to look at the pool. By then the man had finished peeing but a large amount of bubbles were floating at the top of the water. Needless to say, nobody wanted to swim after that (I'm not so naive to think that every pool I've ever swam in has been piss-free. In fact, I'm sure I've never swam in a pool that didn't have a significant amount of urine mixed in with the water. However, there's something disturbing about someone pissing into a pool like a toilet, and not when they are themselves immersed in it).
After lunch, Jed and Lena were able to check into their room. However, the room turned out to be a shithole with no mosquito net. Fearing Dengue Fever, Jed and Lena decided to check into the hotel Huyen and I were staying in. After throwing down our bags, we changed into our bathing suits and walked down to the famous Tam Dao waterfall. Of course the waterfall which last time I went to had only had a few people at it, was jam packed. The four of us camped out on some rocks until there was a window of opportunity to get under the water. The girls decided to pass on getting wet so just Jed and I went under the fall. Frankly, the cold water was the perfect anecdote for probably my worst morning ever in Vietnam.