Saturday, 5 April 2014

Nha Trang, Little Moscow. Vietnam.

On the South China Sea. With a full band behind us we sang Wonderwall. The booze cruise was almost in full swing. The band knew a song for every country & we all took turns at embarrassing ourselves. With a floating bar in the middle of the sea. Trying to anchor yourself onto the bar with your feet & getting the next rum & pineapple 'cocktail' without getting any sea water in your plastic cup was not as easy as it sounds. Oh, and all the while, getting stung by jellyfish.

This really was fun. I was dreading it. I expected cheap over the top forced fun. Which is kinda what it was like. There was a lady boy dancing at one point. The band were good & before the karaoke they played a few decent songs. The tour starts off visiting an aquarium. Not being a fan of these we didnt pay the entrance fee & instead we walked & sat on the harbour & took our first beer of the day. Which was before 10am. Snorkelling around some reef was next. With one working mask, me & Catherine took turns. Cat saw a sea snake. The fish & reef were pretty cool. Lunch was ok but very few non meat options. Which is something I am coming to find a lot here in Vietnam. Then the singing & dancing, then the floating bar, then I cant really remember.

My splash after jumping from the top deck of the boat. Cat's photographic timing was a little off

Nha Trang is a bustling coastal city. Its the most popular beach destination in Vietnam. So it's obviously very popular with backpackers and, to our surprise, Russian families. We started to call it Little Moscow or Russia. With tons of bars & restaurants, my obvious favourite was The Tarantino Bar. Playing spot the quote errors on the walls and listening to Tarantino soundtracks was fun. The food was good too. They could have played up the Tarantino connections a little more. Where was the $5 dollar shake or the Big Kahuna burger?

We stayed at the best hostel in Vietnam. Its got awards saying so. And I can't fault it. It really was an excellent hostel. The staff are all super friendly. Twin, Snow, all of them are great. So happy and friendly all of the time & full of advice and help. The breakfast was ace too. Two nights in a dorm & three in a private room. Really enjoyed our stay at Mojzo Hostel. Recommended by our friend Gemma. So thanks mate :)

View from the open air breakfast room.

Common area.

Before the booze cruise we spent a couple of days on the beach. I finally gave into a cold that I had been carrying like a monkey on my back for the last week. Staying in bed all day really helped me out. Finally started to feel normal again & ready for what followed on the boat.

One of our most visited places. Great Burritos. 

Our time in Nha Trang flew by. Another great recommendation from Gemma was to visit the temples. So on our final day before our night bus we did just that. After Snow had explained perfectly how to get to them by buses & how much to pay in the eventual required taxi. Waiting no more than five minutes the bus arrived which was well air conditioned, clean and of course very cheap. First we hit up The Po Nagar Towers. This is the main temple in a complex of towers on a knoll at the river-mouth of the Cai River. Founded sometime before 781 and dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country. It is no Angkor Wat, but it is cool enough to walk around for an hour or so. There is this museum type building here & inside there are some photos taken in 1938. I prefer the way the towers looked then. Before the restoration works.

We would have spent less time here if I hadn't dropped my sunglasses. Dropped them right outside one of the temples just as I had taken off my flip flops & fell on the stairs. Upon hitting the ground in slow motion, the screw fell out of the hinge and the sunglasses were now in 3 pieces. Searching the floor soon to be joined by others all carefully looking and feeling at the ground for a 5mm screw for a pair of sunglasses which cost £3 on Ebay. Only me and Catherine knew what we were actually looking for. One local lady found a very small gem stone/crystal thing and happily gave it to Catherine. We eventually found the screw & while carefully trying to put it back together dropped it again. We then searched even longer & Catherine finally re found it & we fixed my sunglasses using a discarded straw as a makeshift screwdriver. They have hit the ground so many times in the past 9 or so months. Thrown around. Lost & eventually found in bars. Yet they live on.

Hopping onto another bus then a taxi we arrived at Long Sơn Pagoda. Sitting at the feet of Trại Thủy mountain. As you enter you can see the huge buddha at the top & know that many steps await you. But half way up is a really cool Reclining Buddha. With no other tourists around I enjoyed this one more than the one in BKK. 

Now back at the hostel. Farewell hugs with Snow as she was leaving work. I read a book in one sitting. I never do that. The book is called Piercing by a Japanese writer called Ryu Murakami. Its a bit full on and certainly not for everyone but I couldn't stop reading it. Before I knew what was going on it was time to board the night bus.

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