So we have made our way to Nha Trang. It is a beautiful beach town on the southeast coast of Vietnam.
And our bus ride here was actually quite pleasant. Talk about a first! Robert slept for over half of the trip while I marveled at the mountain scenery. I was only afraid of crashing once, which has to be a record. But, never fear, even though the entire trip took only 4 hours, we had the obligatory meal stop (at 10 am of all times).
Nha Trang is heavily populated with Russians. Apparently, some charter flight company started flying direct between Russia and Nha Trang, and the Russians have pretty much taken over. All the signs are in Russian, all the menus are in Russian, and there are numerous Russian restaurants. A few places don’t even have English translations so it is kind of weird around here. We are just getting the hang of Vietnamese (having learned to say please, thank you, hello, the check, and to count a bit), but I don’t think we will ever get the hang of Russian. Robert has also learned to order his favorite beer in Vietnamese — it elicits a chuckle from the wait staff each and every time.
Nha Trang is also a very touristy town — we have found it pretty much impossible to find local restaurants anywhere close to the hotel and have been eating far too much pizza. Oh wait, who I am kidding. There is no such thing as too much pizza….Although we did find some excellent Vietnamese food tonight at a tourist restaurant (seriously, some of the best bun thit nuong I have ever had).
There isn’t a ton of things to do in Nha Trang — the best thing is to just enjoy the waterfront. And we have been enjoying it quite a bit. There is a large park right in the middle of town, with a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a statue of who knows who. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view (and, no, not all of them are bars!). And the beach is equally as pretty in the evening as in the daytime, with some great views of the moon.
Today we booked the Funky Monkey boat tour. The boat is apparently quite the booze cruise depending on the crowd — our crowd (a mix of Americans, Brits, Chinese, Spanish, Russians, Germans and Vietnamese) was fairly tame but loosened up as they day went on and we ended up meeting some very interesting people.
Basically, the boat hops to four different islands. The first one was a complete bust — we stopped at some run down aquarium and most of us didn’t even bother to go in. Not quite clear to me why the boat even stopped there, but it did.
Then, it was off to another island where we were able to swim and snorkel. The water was very clear but unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot to see — just some coral and a few small fish. I grabbed a tube and just enjoyed floating in the ocean while Robert snorkled.
Next it was off to another island where we had a huge spread for lunch — lots of food and all of it cold and bad. After lunch, the boat crew played music and made people get up and sing a song from their country. Guess what song they played to represent the US? Some horrible Backstreet Boys song. None of us even knew the lyrics. The youngest American on the boat (a lawyer from Chicago who has done some IP stuff but who didn’t know any of my friends — small world) at least knew the chorus so we let him belt that out and just kind of danced around. But once we muddled through that came the best part of the trip — a floating happy hour! They threw some weird floating circular thing into the water, one crew member sat in the middle of it, we put our feet up on the edge and floated on our backs, while the crew member plied us with some sort of punch. It was actually a ton of fun. We had one more stop at a beach and then it was home. It was a great day, in a cheesy fun sort of way.
Tomorrow, I think we are going to an amusement part, which sounds equally as cheesy and equally as fun.