Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nha Trang

Sorry I have been off screen for a bit. The problem is that the Internet access to this entire part of Vietnam has been down or nearly so for at least two days. I have a connection now, but it is slow, so there will probably be no photo postings until I get home. I will the current stash burned to a CD ROM ($2 ) which will free up my 1GB memory for the rest of the trip.

Nha Trang was an ok beach town, a little bit Fort Lauderdale, a little bit Waikiki, on a smaller scale.

Yesterday, it rained most all of the day, but we still went out on a boat cruise to a traditional fishing community on an island. To get there, we took a larger boat to near lands edge, and then transferred to basket boats, small circular vessels that ar paddled. They look traditionally Asian, but the guy said that they were actually invented in Wales!

The island's people are very traditional. They don't practice any of the major religions, they actually worship whales, and never hunt them or eat them. The children were very happy to see Westerners. One little guy of maybe five years ran full speed towards us and said " hello! " with great joy. Another kid said " hello goodbye howareyou " in one burst, as he had been taught in school.

Bad sign: while half of the kids were playing outside, a lot of them were indoors, playing video games.

We left the island and went to the open bay, part of the South China Sea. And then lots of us, including me, jumped off the boat for a swim in the nice, clean, warm water. It was raining, but so what.

Later in the evening, most of us went to the " Nha Trang Water Club ", a large, pretty place that would be right at home in Disney World . We had a good dinner ( I had chicken, Indian style ). We then retired to the back of the place, on the beach, where there was a bonfire burning. Two immense Fosters beers set me back $4 or so. There were two free shots brought over by a waitress from Dublin, working / backpacking through Asia.

It was the 10th Anniversary of the place, so they had Dragon Dancers. Rather than a single big dragon that you see at Chinese festivals, this was four small two man dragons with a human "dragon master " . The dancers were very skillful, and they looked like they were having a great time. They danced on the beach, and then invaded the large bar area.

There were two bands. The first was a Western / Vietnamese band singing 1960s stuff including Van Morrison and " Eve of Destruction " the second was a Latin band (!) that sang some stuff from the Buena Vista Social Club album. Very good.

Vietnam is an interesting place these days.


Anonymous farewelltothe94th said...

Nha Trang (nha chang)
Was not just another beach town, not just another Viet city. You had to been there...1968/69, to appreciate Nha Trang.
After having my head nearly blown off...thats another story. But coming in for a landing, on fire, over the beach at about 500 feet...yes i appreciated Nha Trang. Now if you want to talk about Phu Bai or Pleiku....thats another scary hairy story.

10:48 PM  
Blogger lirelou said...

Amazingly, Nha Trang was not founded by teh Vietnamese, but rather by the French in the 19th century. After the destruction of the Cham city, the Viets moved beyond Nha Trang to Dien Khanh, which was suitable for wet rice agriculture. Nha Trang itself was just a small fishing village and reportedly held Cham residents right up until the 1820s. (basic info from the Khanh Hoa provincial museum, next to the Musee Yersin.) I spent five months assigned to an A Team out in Dien Khanh prior to going up-country. The present city is about three times larger than it was in 1968. Well worth the trip, but after a few days you'll want to head to either Dalat or up to Hue.

1:22 AM  

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