What now?! Scent? Seriously?
Wait! I don’t write a story if it’s not moved me or change the way I see and appreciate things, this is a story of the scent,..
I remember the time when I arrived at a little homestay in Da Lat, Vietnam. It was 6 am in the morning and I got there after 5K of walking from where the night bus dropped me off.
The first impression about Da Lat is WOW! This city is just FULL OF FLOWER and cold. Even tho its 15 degrees, for a girl (oh yes, a girl!) who spent most of her life in the paradise of Bali, that was really cold!
After 45 mins of walking, I reached the Homestay and a nice cute girl opened the gate for me, mumbling with her broken English (I speak broken English too) “Friend Tung?” and I nodded, smiling and entered the house.
Since it’s too early for check in, I asked her permission to use the bathroom for a shower and get ready for my first day exploring Da Lat. Once I stepped into the bathroom, I fell in love with the scent. I smelled the mixture of citrus, lemongrass, and all calming scent. It’s really good, but since the owner speaks very limited English, I ignored my curiosity about the scent.
Back on the bus from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat, I met a lovely Chinese couple, Alice and David. We shared contacts and planned to explore Da Lat together. As we didn’t have fix itinerary (I always love to be spontaneous every time I travel and let the world surprises me), we get along really well and decided to enjoy everything in a slow pace.
First, we went to Home Café, it’s a homey place with good food and beautiful gardens full of pretty flowers. I thought the sell the flowers too but NO, they love flowers so much and plant everything for the past 20 years. Alice and I went crazy about the garden and of course the foods too. What a lovely warm place to be.
After 3 hours talking at Home Coffee, Alicia and David went back to the Hotel for sleep, they couldn’t sleep at the night bus. And me, I continued to explore the City of Da Lat. I went to Café Tung, the oldest coffee shop in town and enjoyed their rum coffee. From Café Tung I saw an old coffee shop ran by an old lady, I went there and decided to have hot homemade lemon tea. It tasted different with any other lemon tea I tasted before and what made this place so special is that the lady has been running the coffee shop for 50 years, on her own, never married nor have kids!!! Such an inspiration!!!
My hopping coffee shop journey didn’t end here, the last time I came to VN, I bought the married bean coffee in Sa Pa, North Vietnam. A friend who gave it to me said, it’s from Da Lat and I should visit Da Lat on my next journey. So, The Married Beans café cannot be skipped. I went there and so happy because the staff speaks English. After I selected some beans that I wanted to bring back home, I went to the toilet, and yes, I smelled the same scent, and I couldn’t bear myself for asking the staff. So I asked her and she told the place name in Vietnamese, no luck to memorized the name at that time so I asked her to help me book a grabbike.
It took 15 mins driving from to reach the place. Arrived at Quán Của Thời Thanh Xuân (yes, finally got the name correct), it’s really out of what I imagined. It’s a tea house with a souvenir shop inside. I went directly to the souvenir shop and it was only me there and a shopkeeper busy with her phone. I called out many times but she kept on staring on her phone, I was pissed. So I went to her table and touched her, she smiled and moved her hand, spoke to me in sign language.… honestly, deep down in my heart I felt so bad on how I reacted before.
Finally, I got the scent for my toilet back home and so happy. Since the tea house is really cute, I wander around and met a young lady who can speak English. From her, I knew that this place is run by disabled people (mostly deaf and dumb). They built the place on their own and also served free flower tea and cookies (that is also made by them) to every visitor.
They served me free flower tea with the cookies, and yes it tasted really good. I believed they made it out of love. The vibe here is so positive, quiet, calming, magical…
I’m so moved with the story behind this place and somehow ashamed of myself on how most of the time I complain of how life is being unfair, feeling I’m not capable of doing things, but this place, simply opened my eyes. They are born disabled but nothing stops them from creating great things and offering happiness to other people…
Thank you, thank you…