Singing boat trips

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nha Trang, the holiday resort for Vietnam. A sort of Blackpool with endless hotels and restaurants, but here they have a great 6km stretch of sandy beach and good swimming. The downside is the place is over-run with touts, they will tout you in the hotel reception, outside the hotel, walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, drinking in a bar, lying on the beach, nowhere but the toilet is safe. As soon as the Vietnamese can walk some become touts. A common sight here is a wee kid, aged about four or five, walking around tables in a restaurant selling postcards to people while mum waits outside to collect the money. Its child labour and exploitation at its ugliest.

We came here to see the beach and check out the small islands off the coast line. You can snorkel round them, so we signed up for a boat trip with Mama Linh and the next morning we set off with Binh our sleazy tour guide. Binh  introduced himself and asked all the single ladies on the boat to raise their hands then confessed he also was single and was a great kisser, dancer, lover and an all round smooth guy. Pass the sick bucket.

We passed small floating fish farms, pontoons built from barrels keep shacks afloat while nets below keep the fish and shrimps in captivity. Our first island stop was to go snorkeling and we all jumped in for an hour. The sea was warm and we could see a good stretch of coral and some fish. If you have been snorkeling in Fiji or Ko Tao don't expect the same. It was obvious the fish stock was dwindling as we only watched a few of each fish variety.

Back on the boat the crew had cooked us a tasty Vietnamese lunch and after wards they cleared the deck to build a stage. A make-shift drum kit from oil containers was produced, an electric guitar and three microphones appeared and the crew started the Mama Linh band singing a Vietnamese song. The audience sat around the sides of the boat watching, the drunk Irish in amusement and the sober Vietnamese in dis-belief, at the impromptu band. We all got asked which country we came from and the band responded with playing a national classic and inviting the audience up to the stage for a Vietnamese pop idol style sing-a-long. Two Brits got up for a chorus and verse of yellow submarine, Aussies had waltzing matilda and the Americans got some beach boys number. It was hilarious.

Then a crew member jumped into the water and sat inside a plastic chair tied inside a life-saving ring. He carried a crate of Vietnamese wine and enough cups for everyone. "Anyone who jumps in and swims over to him gets free wine" Binh declared.  The boat emptied very quickly and more rubber rings were produced for people to sit in.

We walked down to sit on the beach at sunset the next day and a family sitting close by walked over and offered us a portion of their food. It was a tasty un-identified piece of green fruit cut into chunks that we dipped into chili sauce along with a nice giant fish cracker, similar to a popadom and a chewy piece of dried fish that tasted so bad we had to carefully bury it in the sand when they didn't notice. It was a nice gesture.

We hopped on the bus the next day to Dalat, high in the mountain to escape the touts and heat.

Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat  
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