30 October 2009 – day 14 – Friday – Nha Trang, Vietnam
Today we got up early and went to a pier where we got on a boat.
We got several good photos from the water.
The boat took us out to an island where we were given a couple of hours to relax and swim. Kathy went swimming in the sea and she said it was fun.
I brought my computer onto the island and caught up on my writing. Oddly, I was able to pick up a wifi connection to the Internet on the island. It was better than the hotel: The hotel's Internet connection has been almost non-existent. Lee was surprised. He asked the name of the wireless connection. When I told him, he said it was coming from a resort on the island across the water. However, the island looked like it was at least a mile away, maybe two. There's no way the wifi could have reached from there.
On the island, there were minimal facilities: a small bar, showers, bathrooms, and beach furniture.
Very little wildlife.
Some of the people in our group took the opportunity to get massages. One of them, Norma, got massaged by three people simultaneously!
Eventually we left the island and got back on the boat, which took us to something that is hard to describe. It was basically a giant floating live-well. There are lots of these things floating around in the sea. Basically, they're a fish storage area. The local fishermen go out fishing all day. When they come back, they put their catch, still alive, into the live-well nets. There were different areas for different kinds of fish. That way, fishermen could “pace” their sales in order to get a better price for their fish.
Anyway, we got off the boat and onto the live-well. There, we got into basket-boats for a ride. There were two women paddling the boat, plus Kathy and myself. I took lots of photos of my traveling companions. We were warned that we should probably not take our cameras into the basket boat, in case we fell in. I had to admit they didn't look very stable.
Nonetheless, we ignored the warnings and brought our cameras anyway, and I'm glad I did.
After our basket-boat ride, we were dropped off at a nearby island with a fishing village. We walked slowly through the fishing village and took lots of photos.
When we got to the other side of the island, there was a polluted pier
and we boarded our original boat, where I had left my backpack with the computer, and the boat took us back to the mainland where the bus took us to the hotel.
It was getting close to lunch time, so after a quick rinse-off, Kathy and I walked to a local restaurant. We were debating where to eat when we saw a small group of our traveling companions sitting in a restaurant called “Good Morning Vietnam”. We decided to join them. It was an Italian restaurant. I ordered a pepperoni pizza and it was really very good. Kathy ordered some bruschetta and she said it was good.
After lunch, most of the travelers wanted to go back to the hotel to rest. However, Kathy and I wanted to go out sightseeing instead. Only one of our companions, Cathy, wanted to go with us. So we flagged a taxi and asked him to take us to our first sightseeing stop: a Chamm Temple. The temple was beautiful and we took lots of photos, both inside and outside the buildings.
The buildings were filled with smoke from incense. It was so thick I couldn't even see the ceiling.
After the temple, we hailed another taxi and had him take us to the local market. That was a lot of fun. You could buy anything you wanted there—clothes, jewelry, spices, but mainly they had lots and lots and LOTs of dried seafood.
We even noticed bags of dried seahorses, which I thought was odd. I didn't know they were a commodity.
This was a “real” market, not a tourist market, so it was fascinating.
We walked around the market for a long time. We decided to go to our third stop, which was a Buddhist pagoda that contained two huge statues of Buddha. Cathy wanted to go back to the hotel, so we parted ways. We hailed another taxi and he took us to the pagoda.
The pagoda was a working temple with real monks attending the place. We climbed hundreds of steps to get to the top of the hill so we could see the Buddha statues. They were modern statues, not ancient, but they were very good anyway.
After taking our photos, we hailed another taxi and had him take us back to the hotel. We got back just in time to clean up and go to our next event: Lee invited us to join him for a drink and a “controversial” discussion. We thought we'd be talking about something more like taboo subjects, but the subject was the Vietnam war. Lee told us all about the war and how people felt about American soldiers, how the people were brainwashed to believe that Americans just loved to kill people, and so forth. I'm sure some did. And I also believe that American soldiers were brainwashed too.
After our discussion, we went to dinner. All day long I had been telling Kathy that I wanted to eat Indian food, because I missed it and I was getting tired of Vietnamese food. Reluctantly, she agreed. But now, when it was time to choose a restaurant, I told her I changed my mind. We were on the coast, surrounded by lots of wonderful fresh seafood, so I told her that we should eat seafood instead. She was happy that I had changed my mind. We agreed to eat dinner with Adele and Richard. We walked to a very nice restaurant that was right on the sea. It was called the Boating Club or something like that.
When I opened up my menu, I was surprised to find a big section devoted to Indian food! So I gladly ordered some Chicken Tikka Masala. Kathy ordered a curry dish. They were both outstanding. It was very good food.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack. Tomorrow we head up to the mountains to Dalat City. We're leaving town just in time. People are saying a very powerful typhoon is coming and will hit the city in a couple days.
I didn't see any overloaded vehicles of the day! I guess maybe yesterday makes up the difference though.