Published: May 12th 2010May 8th 2010
Hello from sunny Nha Trang. Well we have now been away from home for 3 months, and enjoying every minute of it. We are now thinking of extending our Visa here until early Sept before heading for Cambodia and Laos, then down through Thailand and into Malaysia for a flight to London in Oct.
I have now started work at the same school as Dean and between us are doing about 20 hours a week teaching. This week we haven't managed to be there at the same time much, but are working on that. The students are great fun and we are beginning to see the fruits of our labour. Being a Teacher here is a real treat for us, and it seems everywhere we go we hear "Hello Teacher". We caught up with a student from the Teaching Restaurant last night who I had spent time with helping with his pronunciation, and he was so excited he has landed a job in a Hotel on the reception desk. He thanked me so much for helping him. He is a really nice guy and I'm sure he will do well.
A couple of Sundays ago we did a Teaching
English through music class for about 40 students and we had a great time. We taught them the song "I Still haven't found what I'm looking" by U2 and every time we see the students now they ask us to sing! Dean did oblige them once but has now told them that he has forgotten the words, funny, he said that to one girl who replied "don't worry I have the words" and promptly produced the sheet that we had given them! They have asked us to do another music class in a couple of weeks time, so we will need to get some practice in! Monday we are off with another Teacher from our school to a local Convent, the nuns there run a school for disabled kids. We are planning on doing a music class with them, should be fun.
I did a class at a Seafood Export Company this week ( thankfully at the office, and not the processing plant) and think that will continue. I have also been busy designing a Cookery class flyer for Dat who runs a restaurant just in front of our house. Dat is a great guy who we met when
we were here last May, he has been really nice to us, he helped us find this house, showed us where the computer Doctor was when our Laptop died, even loaned Dean a pair of shoes for a wedding, and is helping us arrange the Visa extension. We really have been very lucky meeting some great people, both Vietnamese and Westerns. We have the contact details of an English couple who have invited us to stay with them in the UK. Yesterday we were invited to an aussie couples home for lunch, and next week Dean has been invited on a trail bike ride with the South American guy who owns the Seafood Export Company. We had also had coffee/ fruit juice with a really nice guy that we met at a wedding a couple of time this week and his has invited us to join him at the gym each morning at 4.30am ( don't think we will make that one). This really is a very social place and we love it.
I mentioned in our last blog that Dean had been for an interview for a job as a sailing instructor. Well he did get the job,
but decided against taking it in the end, although sitting on the beach all day did appeal! He decided that with no rescue craft or public liability insurance at $180.00 AUD a month for 4 days a week he would not risk it. Can't blame him really.
Today we visited a local water park and there is now one very lucky boy in Nha Trang. I was sitting around the pool and saw Dean jump in, then the life guards were clapping. I thought maybe they were applauding Deans entry technique! But the next thing I saw was Dean helping this kid who had been drowning. The boy had jumped in fully clothed (like they do here) not realising how deep it was and had sunk straight to the bottom. His friends were on the side of the pool and had just thrown a rubber tube to him, I don't think they could swim either. Fortunately Dean had seen him, and after a couple of dives managed to get him to the surface. The Life Guards never moved! The kid was coughing and splatting but was back on the water slides in no time.
A few weeks ago,
before we moved into the house, Dean went for a motorbike ride about 50 klms north of here to a beautiful beach side town called Doclet. As he had run out of petrol before even before leaving town ( fuel gauges rarely work here) he decided he had better stop and full the tank again, and ask whether he was in fact heading in the right direction! There was a guy there also filling up who fortunately spoke some English. He (Bein) assured Dean that he was heading in the right direction and that his future Mother in Law owned a restaurant where he works, just up the road and to follow him. Dean sat and spoke to him for a little while before heading off again and, like most Vietnamese Bein asked for Deans phone number. On the way back, unfortunately for Dean, he took a wrong turn, and got lost in Nha Trang city. To add insult to injury he than run out of petrol again!( told you, cannot trust the gauges here) this time through he only had 7000 VNG in his pocket ( 45c) and petrol costs 20000 ltr( $1.20). Luckily a lady came to his
rescue, took all the money that he had, and gave him a cup and a half of petrol. Enough for him to get home. We now make sure that we have a full tank and a few dollars in our pockets before leaving home.
After visiting Doclet, Dean thought that it would be a lovely spot for us to spent a couple of days to celebrate both my birthday and our Wedding Anniversary. So the booking was made and, with Micheal, another teacher from the school ( who was only riding up with us and than coming back the same afternoon) we set off for our couple of days holiday. The ride up there is very pretty, but at times can be a bit scary as the Main Highway 1 joins it about 10klms north of here and boy its hectic. It is only a two lines highway and its seems at times that everyone wants to use the same piece of road. We rode most of the way on the shoulder dodging the cows, pushbike riders and the rice laying to dry on the road.The road follows the coast for a long way and you pass through small
fishing towns with their typical Blue Boats anchored in the bay. Next come the fish farms and then the beautiful green rice fields, complete with ducks and lotus flowers, all surrounded by mountains.
There are several Hotels right on the beach in Doclet but where we stayed, The White Sand Resort was lovely. We had our own little villa right on the beach. The sand there is white and like talc powder the water is warm and very clear. We spent a couple of hours just being lazy, swimming and lazing on the deck chairs. We met an English guy there who said that we really should go and have a look at another beach and hotel called Jungle Beach, he was raving about it, so we decided with Micheal to jump in a cab and have a look. He had told us that there were lots of animals including baby owls there, and that the accommodation was fantastic. Luckily I had put extra cash in, as the cab fare cost us 425,000VND ( $21USD, a lot of money here) and when we finally arrived the place was not much at all. Bamboo huts with just mattress on the
ground with mosquito nets, Aussie air-con as the owner called it ( sea breeze) and not a baby owl in sight. Oh well, we know now. After Micheal left us we had some dinner and after all the sun of the day decided on an early night. About 10.00pm there was a knock on our door, someone from the hotel. We sang out to them that we were asleep and that we would see them in the morning. So bright and early the next morning another knock and when we answered it, the hotel had baked me a beautiful Birthday cake, complete with candles. A really nice surprise. As there was no way we would be able to transport it home we had a little party with the staff.
On the way home we decided to call in at Beins restaurant and see if he was there. He was really pleased that we had called in and even invited us to his wedding the following week. Bein lives in Nha Trang and makes the trip to work each day, so later that day we met up with him and his fiancee Nga ( who speaks very little English) and
enjoyed a great Vietnamese meal at a local restaurant. We have since met up with them several times and enjoyed coffee and several meals and even had a picnic here on our patio of the best BBQ chicken. Its funny really how the language barrier works or doesn't work. We have made several plans with them and they never pan out how Dean & I thought they would. One day we thought they were coming for dinner and they arrived at 11.30am. I immediately went into a panic thinking I haven't been shopping yet, and they just shrugged their shoulders and we all went to a Restaurant, than at 5.00pm they arrived a second time with all the food for dinner! Work that one out. We just go with the flow now, it's much easier.
Anyway after the invite I decided that I didn't have anything to wear so hit the Tailor shop. I had a really nice fully lined cotton dress made in under 24 hours. On the day of the wedding we were picked up by the Groom at 7.00am and with his Aunty's and Uncles enjoyed breakfast at the family home in the countryside. There they
had an alter with all the gifts that are than presented to the Brides family. They were in silver bowls with lids and covered in a Red cloths. The gifts were the Red Wedding dress, Jewellery, Wine, Rice cake, candles, fruit and the Wedding cake. Dean was asked to present one of the trays to the Brides family which was a big honour.
The trip to the Brides home is about 25klms and we where followed by the photographers on motorbikes, a bit like the paparazzi really, they would race ahead and film us driving along. Made us feel like celebrities! I thought maybe I should be waving or something! Anyway when we arrived at the brides home all her family where outside to meet us and accept the gifts, then at another alter with each family on either side, the families agreed to the wedding. The bride was then given the wedding dress by her mother and the wedding began. It was very simple, just exchanging of the rings, no priest or celebrant, just the families to witness the wedding. Afterwards we were treated to a wonderful seafood brunch. The Bridge and Groom then dropped us back home
at about 12noon, for a little afternoon nanna nap before the reception at 5.30pm. The reception was in a Hotel just along the beach from here and was again lovely. This time the bride wore what we would call a traditional dress complete with veil. She looked beautiful. The reception lasted about 3 hours and again we were treated to a 8 course feast. We were seated at the party table and had a great time. We had a really nice day. Its was funny the next morning, the ladies from our street who had seen Dean the day before all dressed in his long trousers, shirt and tie, told him that "today he not as handsome as yesterday". I think he was a bit upset about that!
Another day Derek, (another Teacher at the school) invited us to go fishing and have some lunch at a little restaurant that he knew. So back on the bike we went for another ride in the countryside. The Restaurant/ fishing spot is great. We had a nice morning sitting on the bank with fishing pole in hand, unfortunately no luck with catching anything. So enjoyed a catfish from the tank. It
was cooked whole and was delicious, the lady showed us how to roll it into spring rolls, so we sat under the frangipani trees with a cold beer and enjoyed.
This last couple of weeks we have had several holidays here in Nha Trang, one for the Kings Birthday, a King which died over 1000 years ago, another for the Liberation of Vietnam 30/4/1975 and May Day and boy has to been busy, great for the local economy but we were looking forward to everyone going home, the place was chaotic. We did go back to Long Beach on one of the holidays and were surprised how busy it was. We usually go during the week and enjoy it with just us and about 12 other people but, last week there were thousands there. Unfortunately the people here don't get annual holidays so they take every opportunity that they can to spend some time away. And who could blame them. On the night of the 30/4/1975 there were lots of celebrations planned with a big show planned for the beachfront. Unfortunately the rain clouds rolled in at about 4.00pm and at about 5.00pm it started to rain, spoiling the
celebrations. Unfortunately Dean & I were on the bike at the time and did get wet or should I say soaked! It's funny here, they cover the drains with tarps to keep the rubbish out, but when it rains, where does the water go? Nowhere, the roads were flooded, luckily we weren't too far from home and it doesn't rain too often.
Anyway thats about all from this end, we hope you are all well. So until next time The Journey continues.........
There are more photos below