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Published: March 7th 2011
Our bus has finally arrived from Hue, after 16 hours of semi-sleeper bus goodness through the dark Vietnamese countryside... its 6 or 7am or something, and its already hot in the quickly growing city of Nha Trang.
The city is stretched on a thin strip of beach, sandwitched between the mountains and the ocean. Our hotel is central, about 100 feet from the beach. Not too shabby for $20/night (for both of us)!
As soon as we arrive, I head out to see the sunrise and what the beach is all about while Trung tries to compose himself after the long bus ride. As I sleepily walk out to the beach, I'm greeted with 10 foot, slow breakers on the calm water, white sand, and a cabana club/brewery called the Louisiane Bar opening up for the mornings breakfast on the beach.
You can 'rent' the lounge chairs under the palm leaf umbrellas in front of the cabana. This is how Trung and I spend the next three days. Its $1.50 to lay on the beach at the bar all day, they have a fresh water pool in the middle of the restaurant behind the beach that we use
to rinse off after body surfing in the ocean.
Half a kilometer down the beach is another cabana bar, 'The Sailing Club' where all the tourists like to hang out after sunset. The air is warm, the music is chill and the drinks are cheap. One night I met a group of people from France, Denmark, and Estonia. After sitting around a small bonfire on the beach for a few hours, we decide it was time to go swimming, and we spent a good hour floating in the calm ocean at about 1am. One of the group is a part time surfing instructor, otherwise I would not usually go in the ocean after dark 😉
Nha Trang was meant for, and is, an extremely relaxing place. On our last day before catching the train to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City seems to be a name on a map, everyone here still calls it Saigon), we hop on a $6 snorkeling tour of the surrounding islands that can be seen in the distance from the beach. The first stop is a small bay with a rocky point. There's a small floating house near the point. The people there hand
out masks and swimming floats. When I jump in, I can't see anything through the blue water, but as I get closer to the point, I can start to see tons of fish. The corals are a bit dead from the tourists, but there are plenty of strange fish around, including my first school of squid, which was pretty interesting to swim with.
The rest of the day is spent really just cruising around the bay, at one point we stop for a feast of a lunch, then 'local entertainment'. The guys who work on the boat start a small band, and to make us feel welcome, they sing a song each from the countries everyone is from. A bit odd to be floating in a boat in Nha Trang, Vietnam and listening to a stirring rendition of 'Wonderwall' from a band made of boat people.
After the lunch, one guy throws a small raft into the water and we're welcomed down to the water for the 'floating bar' portion of our trip. We each get an ice cold glass of rose apple wine while floating in inner tubes on the water. Sunburn City!
That night we
Picture taken from the beach bar!
went to the train station early to figure out the train for a change. Well, it still is a bit up in the air, someone tells us to go wait by the tracks, but we're not sure which side to stand on, there's people waiting on both sides, but there are two lines.. But the train arrives when it does, and we get on.
Someone is really excited behind us while we're walking down the hallway in the train with our huge bags, so we accidentally skip our cabin. We pull into a cabin down the hall to let everyone pass us, but then 4 ladies and two kids arrive, wanting into the cabin we're occupying. They can't get in because we're in the way, we can't move because of our bags, and now people are just as excited coming down the hall! Fun.
Somehow the resourceful Vietnamese women climb over us into their bunks, eventually people get by, one of the train attendants is yelling at us about which cabin is ours, even though we CLEARLY get it that our cabin is back the way we came. Thanks for yelling, we get it. Ok, thanks, we get
it. (point to the ticket). Yes, we get it, thanks. Thanks. Ok, we're going, but these people are in the way. Yes, we can go when the people move. Yes, I know where the cabin is, thanks, but there are people in the way. Ok, I'll move. Yes, I know. Thanks. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Finally, in the cabin. Ordeal and a half!
The rest is uneventful. Because we went the night before to the Sailing Club, then snorkelling, I fell asleep right away. We arrive in Saigon at about 7am, ready for another adventure!!
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