Over Nha Trang, Vietnam. My first watched and captured sunrise ever on the Pacific Ocean (South China Sea) that I can see the sun set into everyday from home in Vancouver.
Well our time quickly ended in the lovely coastal town of Muine and we continued on our voyage northward. The next stop on our planned itinerary was Nha Trang, recommended by many-a-people and enjoyed immensely by us all. Our travel gang had increased two more and seen the arrival of two good Canadian boys from Canmore Alberta. It’s been way too long since I’ve been around serious Canadian accents and their constant talk of tobbacer, sleds, and the ridiculously small backpacks they donned and talk of the 8th division Calgary snooker league made for a great time. I think I would honestly be surprised if a year or two ago if someone said I’d be traveling across Vietnam with a pack of 7 Canadians. While it seems like there is an abundance of us here from the great white north, we all get along incredibly well so long as Northwest Divisional standings aren’t brought up, Koren keeps her Oilers hat in her bag hidden where it belongs and wine is expensive.
Arriving in Nha Trang we quickly found a very extravagant and illustrious penthouse suite for us three chaps that saw many balcony parties and only cost us about $5
Diving off the Deck
Thanks to Erin for capturing this photo, Koren and I take a dive off the boats upper level, not sure how many beers were to be had at this point.
each. We spent our first day in Nha Trang first testing the muddy waters of the local health spa, which we followed by the foggy waters of the mineral bath and finally the steaming water of the steam bath (with a waterless massage thrown in there someplace as well and probably the best one I’ve ever had). I believe that with the Belgium waffle coated in whip cream and chocolate I consumed for breakfast that same day this might have been the most comforting day of my entire trip.
Aside from an enormous Indian meal where James really did give us all a scare by consuming what likely would feed an entire Rajasthani village, struggled to breath and even frightened Omar the chef/owner from New Delhi, the other two notable events that occurred in Nha Trang would be our “boat trip” and our scuba diving. I’ll start by saying the scuba diving here in Vietnam was better than the scuba diving I did in Kho Tao Thailand, though not as good as the water we frequented in the Similan Islands. However, for half the price as Thailand one can’t complain. In fact, were we to have an extra day
Trying to pose as vietcong, I coated my body in mineral mud in an attempt to vanish. While the cammo was very innefective and the mud bath nothing but a great stage for my sick 10 year old bathroom humour, the massage I received later was one of a kind.
in Nha Trang we could have dove for half the price I dove for in Honduras back in ’05. The experience was great as the first dive brought me out shivering uncontrollably (possibly from the sunburn the day before, or just the cold water) and the second dive (with an additional wetsuit I added) was my first drift dive and one of the most fun I’ve ever done. Regardless, diving was an enormous success as it was fun, cheap, and took Ryan out of his diving retirement of 2006.
Second major event in Nha Trang was our boat trip. Initially I thought it a big mistake to book this silly thing back in Saigon, but when they added it with our bus ticket for $2 I figured I couldn’t go wrong. We had to wake up devastatingly early (like 8am) and the weather seemed cloudy so the entire adventure began as a bit of a chore. Fortunately (or unfortunately as you’ll later learn) when we got out on the boat, the sun came out full blast, the $1 beers had cooled off and the party begun. We managed some really terrible skin diving before a huge lunch, and then
Back in the Water
James and I in our wetsuits, which I must say were not warm enough as we had two excellent dives for a whopping $14 USD each (with free lunch).
by the early afternoon things were a blur and we all dove in for the floating rice wine bar (or wice rine as we called it at the time) which seemed totally absurd but was really fun as our Vietnamese boat captain dove off the back with two crates of wine and a life ring then told us to join him for cocktails, we weren’t sure what to do but after an hour of floating and drinking two crates, and likely just as much sea water we were pulled out of the ocean into the boat and headed to a near bye island.
With a huge volleyball court our pack of boat goers initiated a “Canada versus the World” challenge on the court which brought several other contestants, even more Canadians, more beer until then the memories get blurry as I later pinpointed this exact moment as the final crushing blow that landed it’s searing hand across my body’s largest organ and I fell to my knees vanquished by Ra and his unspoken spell of sunstroke. The rest of the afternoon saw me back on the boat having a good time, but later that night when the aforementioned ill-effects
Ryan and I were tired of not being rich and wandering around everywhere draped in silk, so we picked up these bad boys to make our lazy days that much more authentic. Note the initials stitched on the breast.
took place over dinner I nearly fell asleep at the table until people urged me to return to the penthouse for a nap at which point I woke up the next morning, conveniently refreshed for the scuba dive.
We headed to Hoi An via our open bus tickets (which we’re quite fond of actually) a mere 5 hours or so onward. Hoi An was noticeably cooler than everyplace I’ve frequented so far this “winter” and I found it to be a much nicer temperature. No longer would I sweat profusely climbing hotel stairs and no longer would we even be somewhat tempted to splurge for air conditioning. Hoi An is a great place that seems authentically Asian with small silk shops, tailors, vegetable soup vendors and other treasures just waiting to be found in the narrow alleys and sweat shop like markets.
Part of our traveling party wanted to do some heavy duty shopping and since I had half planned to pick up some custom made silk pajamas and a matching housecoat this was the place to do it. I managed the pajamas, the housecoat, a nice custom embroidered “Lush” on the breast, plus I even splurged for
This is an interesting shot. Somehow I managed to get everyone that was actually partying on the party boat to pose for this photo and yet the next morning I didn't remember any of it aside from this mysterious photo you see now as evidence the day even happened. As you can see we kidnapped the boat captain and burried him in our ranks, there were lots of rad people there that day and it was a smashing success.
some new leather shoes and a wool coat for back home. The shoes being the most interesting purchase as the woman actually traced my feet, then measured them around in several places before I tried on the end product the next day and watched it slide on magically feeling much like Cinderella.
After a furious day of shopping, too much wine and a several pieces of broken furniture in our hotel room later we decided to take it easy and finally relaxed a day where I found some absolutely fantastic food, toasted baguettes, beautiful broths of noodle soup and café’s with delightful tiramisu and tortes alike. James gave away his purchased volleyball to a nice little girl who hung out at our hotel, and we’re hoping she’ll become a champion one day.
After Hoi An we headed north again through the DMZ and further in a horrifying bus ride that saw none of us get any sleep at all. While the bus was terrible the reunion with T-Bone (or as I simply refer to him now: “The Bone”) was epic in everyway imaginable and we celebrated his belated 21st birthday the only way we knew how.
Diagnosis positive, it was in fact sunstroke as I suspected it was! This one is for all the boys back home who share my sickly pale skin *caugh* Steve, Randy.
the evening was a smashing success, the snake liquor (we don’t know much about the mystery liquid aside from the fact it was made from 4 snakes), Jack Daniels, beer and cheap Vietnamese wine caused bad things at our last stop which I won’t go into but the three man piggy back and wireless Mario Kart tournament was a complete success. In other news my appetite is officially back, though it cannot be explained why I’m back to around 7-9 entrée’s a day now after a long hiatus of probably only two meals a day, though I have no idea how or why this happens in strange (and seemingly) 6 month rotations I fully enjoy the growth spurts (?) while they last.
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