Published: April 29th 2011April 28th 2011
(I'm not in Jalalabad - but I can't get the computer to bring up Vietnam!!!)
Well OK folks, you'll be pleased to hear that the holiday is back on track after yesterday's unpleasantness. Today I had the whole day to myself and I played the lazy hours like they were a saxophone. (I can't claim credit for that line I'm afraid).
Anyway decided good policy decision for the day was to cover up as much flesh as possible as sunburn still pretty angry (don't tell my Mum). So I indulged in a little light browsing round the shops of Nha Trang - virtually burka clad apart from a bright, red nose peeling great tracts of skin.
And a very pleasant morning it was as I doffled gently around the shops. Late morning I discovered a fabulous little French restaurant run by French people. 'Oho' I thought, 'a chance to practise ma francaise. Formidable!' 'Excusez moi - L'addition s'il vous plait, et votres menu est tres bien, je retourne ce soir', I said with a little flourish. I may even have looked a tad smug as I said it. If I had had a cane I would have twirled it before pushing my boater to a rakish angle (actually - is that sounding like Top Cat?) 'Ah!' the owners exclaimed and thence began to reel off a load of Frenchy talk. My blank look revealed me as the totaly language luddite that I am.
So just as the sun reached it's zenith (Noel Coward was SO right), I decided that this was the optimum time to take a motorbike taxi out to the 2 ancient sites in Nha Trang - Cham Towers and Pho Nagar. They both involve A LOT of steps. I was undaunted though. My room is 8 flights of stairs up. The first day was a bit of a puff but today I ran up them. Blithely. Liberally dusting the staircase with epithelial cells as I went. I tell you what, if there's a murder in Nha Trang, I'm toast. My DNA's all over this joint.
I had another facial this afternoon. Do you know the sucky pen? The sucky pen (as i call it) looks rather like a hollowed out pen and sort of hoovers your pores. I love the sucky pen. It makes a very satisfying moise too.
Then off to a very chilled bar for my pre-dinner cocktail. Unfortunately the girls there couldn't tell me what was IN the cocktails, so I decided to take a flyer on Passionate Love. (Well - you have to live in hope don't you?!) Turns out Passionate Love tastes EXACTLY like the amoxycillin penicillin stuff you used to have to take on a teaspoon when you were a child. I mean EXACTLY. They stuck a parasol in it but, that wasn't fooling me. They had a whacking great bottle of the stuff I reckon. It was bloody awful.
I have to say if I knew - I wouyld have taken advantage of the 'Easy Riders' - you can ride the lebgth of the country on the back of their bikes. I loved my motorbike ride today (don't tell my Mum), the freedom, the breeze, my helmet fastened nice and loosely on my head... One of the more arresting sights is a whole family of 4 packed onto a bike, the parents with helmets, the little tots of 3 and 4 wedged between them - helmetless. Anyway - penicillin on the rocks downed it was off to Le Bouchon!
Annoyingly at the french restaurant althugh I kept talking in French to them, they would insist on speaking in English back to me. Can't imagine why. I decided to forego the pleasures of the 'Boiled Calf's Head' (sounds vile) and the 'Steak Tartare - local raw meat', delicious I'm sure, but a risky choice ahead of a plane day and went for a goat's cheese salad. On a related note I was fascinated at Heathrow Airport to see how many people were chomping down the oysters at the oyster bar ahead of a long haul flight. Now I adore the little critters BUT it does seem a peculiarly dangerous form of dysentery roulette. Get one bad oyster and 2 hours later you are going to be joining a totally different mile high club and one I have no desire to be a member of....
Decided to round off the evening with a drink in a bar. Once again surrounded by young and old Western men with Vietnamese girls. Sigh. I was sitting watching the young, dumb Dutch boy groping the waitresses' bottom and thighs while ordering a drink and then playing Connect 4 with his Vietnamese squeeze. I must have been looking quite wistful as one of the Vietnamese girls came over and asked me if I wanted to play. Did I?! I used to be be shit hot at Connect 4. 30 years ago..... Well if you don't use it you lose it and she thrashed me 3 times. Then I beat her 3 times at Jenga. Ha. Honour satisfied. We talked while we played and she was asking me if I had a boyfriend etc. and then I asked her about her situation. Sje said Vietnamese boys were no good. They didn't think about the future, but that they all wanted Western men. Hmm. A little later I got talking to the idiot Dutch boy (25 - seemed younder) and he said he'd had 2 Vietnamese girlfrineds so far and would probably have more - but wasn;t looking long term. And that's the problem isn't it? I'm going to write more on this in a separate post.
Anyway, the jenga was fun.