Nha Trang

We jumped in a cab to Denang; went straight to the train station, then found that there where no tickets available to Nha Trang for seven days! We played with the idea of heading north and then booking a train ticket from there; we played with the idea of jumping on a bus, but found they where all booked up too, but then we opted for what every hardcore traveller would condemn us for: an airplane.

We had to spend a couple of days in Denang while we waited for our flight, and found the place to be allot cooler now that Tet was over and the shops where open. We found a Big C and ended up watching that damn Adam Sandler film that has been stalking us all over Asia, because nothing else had Eng subtitles, and we hung out at China beach. A Vietnamese girl took a liking too me on the beach, but we where not staying long, and we are going home soon:

A few more:

We randomly found a vegan supermarket! It looked like any other crappy shop and Tom dragged me in reluctantly. I was going through the motions of checking all of the stock, for any chance of food I could eat, then it hit me: OMFG I can eat everything. Some of their stock was very strange to say the least:

Vegan Chicken Guts
Vegan Pigs Ears
Vegan Quail Eggs
Etc, etc

Tom passed me a can of Vegan Chicken Legs, which I was tempted to buy, just to see what they looked like, but I could not bring my self to do it (yuck). I ended up buying Deer and cow jerky, and a few packets of sausages. I am saving some for our train trip to HCMC, but it’s seriously tasty, so it is a little difficult. That shop blew my mind, because Denang is the last place I would expect to find Vegan foods (even if some of it was seriously weird).

We found a little shop in a hotel, which sells war trinkets; we where both looking to find Vietnam war lighters, so where happy to find the place. Most of her lighters where blatant reproductions, like the two lighters with the same inscription of a soldier pledging his love to Betty something or other, so we picked up a couple which are almost certain to be real:

Our flight out of Denang was very scary. I thought I was going to die and couple of times. Vietnam airlines fly European Airbuses, but something is seriously wrong with theirs. When we where taking off, the aeroplane vibrated very, very violently, and then when we got into the air the plane was going mental shaking for what seemed like forever; one of the stewards who was strapped in received a call from the pilots (I am guessing) and did not feel the need to tell us anything, so everyone sat there in silence as the plane went mental. I could feel the plane loosing altitude, you know that feeling you get in you chest when you are falling? Anyway after that all was fine, until we descended for landing, and pretty much the same thing happened.

On the way into Nha Trang airport, I could see some remnants of the war on the ground, like tank emplacements along two parallel roads and an AA gun. When we landed I could see the airstrip was concrete and much of the rest of the airport was covered in decaying concrete. Apparently it is a new airport, but it looks like an ancient military air field. I hope HCMC airport is a little more up to date.

When we got to our hotel, they thought it was okay to keep us waiting for our room and charge us to much money for it, so I did a walkout-find-other-hotel double bluff and got us an awesome 10% discount and accelerated access to our room, which Tom would call a medium-spicy-reverse-walkout.

Nha Trang is a very cool city. We have wondered quite a bit of it in the few days with have been here, there are a few more hostile people than usual though i.e. Tom is “no good” according to a hard seller who Tom refused to buy postcards from, after five of her colleagues where done harassing him and me. That happened at the Pogoda and is a mild example. When we went to the pogoda and big Buddas, we found the hassle was pretty immense, which for a holy site was upsetting, not for us, but for them (in my mind) as it is supposed too be a place of worship and retreat. The whole place was debased in my mind by that. We both left donations for the school as I promised one of the nicer PR sellers, but we had to take turns entering the shrines, too protect each other’s shoes; you maybe thinking that is a little extreme? Well we where right to do it because “You shoe expensive, you give me money”, which was what one of the nice people said, after they saw we where taking no risks. The kids where oh so polite, inviting us to come in and leave our shoes before they demanded money though. One of the kids urinated behind the big Buddah also, which should give you a fair idea how they respect their own culture. That does paint an excessively negative picture of Nha Trang though, it is a great place, we just had a bad time at it’s main tourist attraction. We have met some exceptionally nice people here e.g. we went to see a random military statue of a dead soldier and where given the entire history of it and shown to his shrine to burn incense, by a nice taxi-bike-rider of all people, who asked for nothing.

The beach here is not so great; it has crappy sand, but the weather here is nice, so I should not complain.

We went to see the French cathedral here, which was pretty cool; that would be all I have to say about it, if not for Tom and his adventures: we where walking around and taking pictures like any other tourists, then we went inside; I got bored after five minutes and left Tom; the bell starts ringing and people start to go inside; after quite some time Tom reappeared and told me he was stuck in a Vietnamese language church service unable to leave, but I was respectfully waiting for him, thinking he was doing some “cultural learnings”.

We live two stories up from the night life, which goes on until very late. We have been out a few times, and there are plenty of western people having a great time, some of which want the party to go on longer and work as PR. I never thought I would see club PR in Vietnam of all places, but some of the bars hire Aussie girls to flirt with customers and encourage the single male patrons to believe they are drinking in a cool place where hot Aussi girls talk to you and watch you play crappy pool. We saw through it immediately (well after five minutes).

MEKROB! MEKROB! Me Krob is something Eric Cartman hates and believes is a cursed word. I had to try it to find out if it is a horrible as he said, and it isn’t bad:

We are getting on a train to Ho Chi Min City, and will be spending four days there until we catch our flight back to KL. HCMC is expensive and has a black river according too one of the locals here; I am hoping it is better than that.


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