Day trip out to Tuyen Lam Lake

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Incense sticks burn at Thien Vien Truc Lam Temple.

We’ve been longing to get out to nearby Tuyen Lam Lake to see some nature, but Stoytcho has staunchly vetoed the idea of renting a motorbike. “What, come on!” I say, “It’ll be fine.” But Vietnam does have some absurdly high motor vehicle death rates, so I’m not terribly convincing. We also promised our travel nurse we wouldn’t do this. As we were getting shots for yellow fever and Japanese Encephalitis and goodness-knows-what-else, we told her about our travel plans in Southeast Asia. “Just promise me you won’t rent a motorbike there. That is more likely to kill you than any of these diseases combined.”

But thanks to a cable car, there is one bit of Tuyen Lam Lake we can reach without a vehicle. So on our last day in Da Lat, we caught a cab up to the cable car entrance, bought tickets, and soared over pine tree forests and farms for fifteen minutes. We arrived at Thien Vien Truc Lam Temple, walked through its grounds, and had a lovely stroll by the lake. In one cluster of buildings by the shore, we found a restaurant and had lunch and I survived a near-concussive experience as a lumber beam perched over their bathroom door came crashing down an inch from me. The cook’s wife came running in horror, assuming she’d killed a foreigner, but I managed to communicate that I was ok. And to celebreate the near brush with death (even in absence of renting a motorbike), we took a swan boat out onto the lake. That’s as good a celebration of life as any, right?

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Men weld steel outside the cable care ticket office–probably not for the cable car.

 

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Riding the cable car.

 

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A man photographs his family at Thien Vient Truc Lam Temple.

 

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People enter and exit the prayer space in the temple.

 

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A Buddha statue gestures toward the sky.

 

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An inchworm raises up to find branch to crawl on.

 

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Visitors take photographs around Tuyen Lam Lake.

 

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A man walks through flowers planted in the arc of a rainbow.

 

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Tourist boats line lake shore, Vietnam flags waving proudly.

 

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We paddle our swan boat out onto the lake.

 

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A lamprey surfaces in our boat wake. I could see the ring of its jawless mouth.

 

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An abandoned swanboat in the middle of the lake.

 

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A tower at the end of a path on the lake.