Published: March 15th 2006March 15th 2006
I got my hair cut by a hooker the other day. I don’t know why I always end up with interesting haircut stories when I travel. I walk into this “barbershop” and there are 5 girls sitting around. They probably ranged in age from 17-25. They were all very, very cute…and extraordinary friendly. I said I needed a trim, and so one of them sat me down and started cutting my hair. In the mirror that I was facing I could see the other girls trying to catch my eye and smile and giggle. After about 5 minutes another girl comes out of the back room, followed by a 60-year-old western man. He saw me and immediately shifted his eyes away and rushed out of the building. This was my first clue. Then about 5 minutes later, a 20-something year old Vietnamese guy came in and grabbed one of the girls…the one in the pink mini-skirt and white tube top…and went in the back with her. I heard loud music playing and they came back out about 10 minutes later. Just a quickie, I guess. It was after that that the girl cutting my hair started whispering in my ear that
I was very handsome, and did I want a massage. I told her thank you but no thank you. When the haircut was finally done…they all surrounded me. I told them I had to meet a friend at the beach and maybe I would come back later. So they all start fighting telling me what they will do for me…and it went downhill from there…I pretty much ran out without even getting my change for the haircut. The sad thing is that this place is right next to my hotel, so I have to walk past there multiple times a day…and every time they yell out “Kevin, where you go…you don’t like us…come see us…” Well, I guess that’s not really the sad thing…the sad thing is that this is what they do for a living.
OK, I am pathetic. In a matter of a few days I have managed to go from being a traveler to being a hardcore tourist. It is 1:30 in the afternoon and I am just now lifting my heavy head off the pillow. I am sunburned and hung-over…I can still taste the Vodka Red Bull and I am trying to piece together last
night. So far the pieces are something about a couple girls from Canada, one of which looked a lot like Blair but with platinum blonde hair and a sexy accent…a German girl with stunning eyes….a bunch of crazy Aussies…dancing to Snoop Dogg…oh yeah, it rained last night too…that’s why my clothes are wet…first rain since Vang Vieng…I sat out in the pouring rain slamming cups of Tiger Beer with some local guys who thought it was so funny that I didn’t mind being soaked.
I guess I should explain where I am. I am in Nha Trang, Vietnam, a beach town that reminds me of many other places. It has the beaches of Maui, the bars and clubs of PB, the beautiful crowd of Ibiza, and the local people trying to sell you anything and everything like Cabo. There are $500 a night resorts on the beach, but for $13 a night you can get a proper hotel with all the amenities you’d need. It is an absolute hedonistic paradise. I love it! I love Vietnam! I know I am probably ostracizing myself from the traveling community by saying this, but I have been in over 30 countries in the
Good Morning Vietnam
An Italian resturant in Nha Trang...don't know why, but I love this picture
past 5 years…and so far I think Vietnam is my favorite. I know I should be raving about Laos, and saying that Vietnam is too touristy…but I have to be honest with myself…I love it here! I can appreciate Laos for the quiet place it is, and I wouldn’t trade my month there for anything and I would never want to see it become Vietnam. But Vietnam has so much more to offer. You pay a little more in Vietnam, but you get so much more. Instead of $3 a night for a box, you pay $10 a night for a nice room. You might pay $7 for dinner…but you’re eating fresh seafood or a proper Italian meal. You’re paying $3 for a drink, but you’re in a posh nightclub with great music and people.
So enough of my gushing about how much I love Vietnam, let me now tell you how lazy I have been. I have only covered half of what I wanted to cover in Vietnam. I was supposed to do Hanoi - Halong Bay -Sapa - Hue - Hoi Ani - Nha Trang - Dalat - Ho Chi Mihn. Well, I decided to skip Sapa because
Out my window...
I didn’t think I would have enough time…then I got to Hoi An and somehow got stuck there for 4 days. It was this amazing little town where at night the old colonial streets are lit by lanterns…and it just has such a neat feel. It is also known for its clothes. I had 3 suits with shirts tailor made, along with a wool overcoat for $260USD…then shipped them home for $40USD! Amazing stuff.
I decided that I would no longer ride a bus in Vietnam…so I gave away my open ticket and bought a train ticket to Nha Trang. I had to go up to Danang to catch the train, but it was so worth it.. Trains are the only way in Vietnam…stay away from the bus.
Now Nha Trang has me hooked. I have been here for 5 days. I am eating in nice restaurants every day…I am lounging on the beach being served drinks…I am a tourist…what can I say. I start my nights at Crazy Kim’s (a bar ran by a woman fighting pedophiles in SE Asia), then I am at Red Apple to meet up with Donal (an Irish guy I have been hanging out with off and on since Hanoi) and the Aussies, then it’s to Why Not to have a few more before heading to the Sail Club (where everyone ends up after midnight). The Sail Club is this amazing nightclub on the beach. It is seriously straight of OB. The Sunshine Co, but on the beach and with a huge dance floor.
Yesterday we did Mama Linh’s cruise out to the surrounding islands. It was a blast. You snorkel (which is nice because I have already paid to go diving, and it’s been 3 mornings now that I have flaked out because they leave at 7:30am), you swim, you swim up to a floating bar and drink awful fruit wine, you eat a buffet lunch on the boat, you have a fruit party….it’s a good time. Laying on the roof with a buzz, getting some sun and listening to Snow Patrol blast through my ipod was almost as nice as tubing in Vang Vieng. Little moments when there is nowhere you’d rather be!
Alright, now to top it all off, I am flying to Saigon tomorrow! I am a little embarrassed myself…but let me explain….it’s only $39 to fly…it’s $24 for the train. An extra $15 gives me another night in Nha Trang…and another day on the beach…a day that is running out as I speak. It’s a night train, so I wouldn’t see anything anyway…and I no longer have time for Dalat. Excuses, excuses…but what is traveling if not doing what you want when you want! I just realized today was my last day for diving…one more thing down the tubes thanks to evil, evil Red Bull! Ahhhhh! I’m off to the beach to let the sun soak away this hangover. I guess I’ll just have to comeback to Vietnam and cover the rest of it…and stay away from the vacuum that is Nha Trang!