Back to The Beach
Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
105Trip End Jun 15, 2005
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Now in Nha Trang...because its kinda convenient geographically, and everyone goes there. Described by Lonely Planet as "Vietnam's supreme seaside party town" I was kind of expecting Ibiza, but its a bit quieter than that
Had acted as courier for my hotel in Hoi An by taking a pack of business cards to a hotel they knew here, and as they were so good in Hoi An, had no problem in walking the little distance to find it (eventually!). Spurned all other offers of Hotels, including the one across the road - the hotel were grateful for the cards...but full - I had to go back to the guy who I'd just turned down, and he was less than impressed!
The beach is the focus of this town, so the beach it was. Had a superb Mexican meal at the Nha Trang Sailing Club (though no boats or mexicans to be seen!) and hired a sun lounger, slept, was forced to buy some fruit from a fruit seller when she failed to believe me when I said "I'm asleep", and had a swim - I've seen cleaner beaches though - little too mush rubbish in the sea.
Monday 2nd August 2004
As everyone does in Nha Trang, went on a boat trip to the Islands - Island 1, superb snorkelling, diving down to coral, and swimming in shoals of fish - the coral wasnt that large, and the fish were tiny, but if this is a taster for Thailand and Australia I cant wait!
Island 2 was a very civilised affair - crew member floats out on mini raft, dispensing red wine to all swimmers. I've decided life is sitting in a rubber ring, drinking Vietnamese red wine, in a turquoise sea, with the sun beating down.....now why did I give up my career????
Onto Island 3 and we get the pleasures of the crew singing Beatles, Eagles songs to us - very bizarre, but funny. Lots of seafood and drink, then onto the Island - time to try parasailing - bizarrely, I've never done this (guess I dont go on that many beach holidays), but it was fantastic - run of the beach, and then your 100 feet in the air, looking down on the sea and beach below you....now only if they had supplied red wine up here....only shame was it didnt last long enough, but splash down in the warm water to be picked up by jet ski was great.
Went on a little bit of a pub crawl with Scottish Carey (who is another I keep bumping into) - went to two very bizarre Thai bars where there were no other westerners - the first 007 bar, is like a nightclub, but just felt like the local mafia belonged here. the second was even weirder - again, like a nightclub, but they were playing a weird game of bingo, with Benny Hill on the the TV monitors, and then switch to heavy dance music. Attempted, without success, to find a karaoke bar (to observe, not sing!) - as they are everywhere in Asia (we can blame the Japanese for that) but the only ones we could find were private room versions.
Onto the Nha Trang Sailing Club - "the" place for westerners - but is nice - with the sea yards away, had a few drinks and was nicely tucked up in bed for, er, 4.30am (after waking the hotel guy up)
Tuesday 3rd August 2004
Going back to the waking up the hotel guy, when I first came across this in Hanoi, I felt really guilty...but my guilt levels have been subsiding ever since - they all close the shutters (making it very difficult for you to recognise your hotel) at around 11.00, and there is always some guy asleep in or around reception, and lets face it, they must be used to it (I'm turning into Callous Rich Western Tourist - I dont even give to beggars!)
Obviously had a productive day today after last night - bought a baguette - went to the beach, slept, woke up with sand glued to me by my sweat and no opportunity for a shower, and eventually made my way back to the hotel - I'd checked out earlier, but left my backpack there.
Also remembered to ask for my passport back - In Vietnam, they always take your passport, but when you check out, never voluntarily give it to you - one day I'm going to leave it behind as I only remember a few hours later.
Have booked the soft sleeper train to Saigon, and decide to walk, with my backpack, in the dark, to the Station - it doesn look far on the map. Promptly get lost, and the motobike taxi drivers circle like vultures - end up hiring one of them, who deliberatly takes a long route to justify his fee - I wasnt that far away!!
Train station full of Vietnamese, and the odd westerner, and is wholly confused - everything is in Vietnamese, but even then, there is no mention on the monitors (well, the 1 monitor) of times or places that you could distinguish. Luckily drink/sweet shop lady comes to the rescue (in return for me buying) and is very helpful, taking me all the way to the platform.
Find my cabin - Im sharing with a Vietnamese family - climb up on my bunk - were not talking 5 star here, but its a bed, and well, I can sleep anywhere. Attempts at communication are limited - my Vietnamese is poor, and their English doesnt exist (dont they realise all other languages are being phased out? - you can tell this by the way Vietnamese answer the phone "hello" has now entered their language)
They do offer me some fruit, forgotten its name, but have tried before ands its just bland mush, so decline - I've probably offended the entire nation.
Train sets off...and I fall asleep straight away!