Rain or Shine

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, October 23, 2011

The bus trip from the central highlands of Dalat was a squishy, curly, misty, four hour descent. We drove through thick cloud and past gushing waterfalls before reaching the ever sunny city of Nha Trang. 
 
It was pouring with rain.  
 
We checked in to Saigon hotel even though we left Saigon 5 days ago. 
Some of the girls and I went for a walk down to the beach in the torrential rain. We splashed our way beneath coconut laden palms as workers in ponchos hand-cut grass and manicured gardens. Beach bars sat deserted at happy hour as dark clouds hugged the mountains.

Cooking on coal filled clay pots at the local BBQ place was entertaining. Squid, prawn, pork, chicken and beef sizzled and spat as smoke perfumed the air.  Boisterous locals drank beer upon faded plastic chairs.  We knocked back locally brewed San Miguel beer costing a whopping 90 cents per 1.5 litre bottle.
 
On Saturday we chugged slowly out of the harbour towards the small fishing village on an island off the coast of Nha Trang. The sun shone beautifully as the British members of the group slathered sunscreen upon their pasty limbs. I sat perched upon the bow as we navigated through hundreds of doppelganger boats. The blue paint representing hope and red for luck. I think our boat was freshly painted as a fair bit of luck rubbed off on the bum of my shorts.
Walking through the muddy lanes of the fishing village gave us an insight into daily life. Ducks heads hung limply while their pale bodies were stripped of feathers, women fried banana jam and fritters to sell, basic wooden huts housed karaoke machines but lacked running water and children played cards as old men dozed in hammocks.  
On the other side of the island we clambered into round basket boats to paddle back to our boat. We headed off to a snorkelling and fishing spot behind a nearby island. The snorkelling was a non event as the visibility was mediocre but we jumped in for a swim to cool off. 
Teeny hooks were baited with stinky little shrimp. Some of the group caught fish, all of which were less than bite size and I had to laugh at the sight of them. After a local lunch on board we all had a bit of chill out, some slept in the shade while I lay back drinking icy beer in the sunshine. 

Our final day in Nha Trang began with a sore head from a few too many mojitos at the ‘Why Not Bar’.  One of the English boys had been so drunk that he'd stuck his hand straight into a fan above the toilet whilst throwing up.  His bloodied finger was hilarious. Anyway, some of the boys and I caught the cable car to Vinpearl Island, the longest over-water cable car in the world at 3.3kms long. 
Vinpearl Island boasts a massive water park with some crazy ass slides and a nonexistent safety standard. Lifeguard chairs stood tall and empty. Did I have fun? Hell yeah.. I had the time of my life and my first ride on the ‘Tsunami’ knocked that hangover right out of me.  I must have climbed a thousand stairs to the top of slide towers, which was great as we’d been doing a bit too much eating and bus riding of late. Being off-season there were absolutely no line-ups for any rides or slides. It was like having your very own theme park. Little men in orange shirts would literally turn a ride on for us. We rode the rollercoaster and other petrifying carnival rides that made me giggle before jumping on the cable car back to Nha Trang for a massage. We boarded the local overnight train bound for Danang, clicking and clacking for over 13hrs.  In the morning we woke to the sight of bathing water buffalo, muddy ducks, the ever present tangle of powerlines and strangely enough, gum trees. 
Hoi An next. 

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