Sunshine and beaches

Trip Start May 28, 2012
Trip End Oct 24, 2012

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We arrived in Nha Trang at 6.00am on the sleeper bus. It was an interesting journey as the seats are made for tiny short little Asian legs and we both struggled to stretch out comfortably as well as find room for our bags. My toes went numb on several occasions and I didn't sleep too well, causing me to be a total zombie over breakfast. As soon as we were let into our room, around 7.45am-ish, I crashed out cold for about two hours. 

Once I was finally in the land of the living again we decided to hire some bikes and get familiar with the city. We asked how much it was to hire 'bikes' for the day, in which the kind lady replyed 60,000 Dong ($3.70NZ), so we were super stoked about how cheap it was for pushbikes. Then the dude rocked up with two scooters! I jumped on the back again and we were on our way. $3.70 for six hours... not too shabby! We zoomed every which way around our new home town and quickly started to like the smaller, not-so-busy, beachy town. After lunch we decided to go in search of the giant Buddha, which was a mission but we finally found it. He was pretty cool and looked really happy, we also got to see a full on temple with a religious ceremony in progress. Half way up, next to the sleeping Buddha we got the fright of our life from a little green snake which was rustling in the first I thought it was a massive rat but then we saw his little tail so we got the hell outa there as it was the first snake in the wild we have seen so far.

The next day (Thursday) we went snorkelling! It was a super fun day and we saw heaps of fishies - as you'd expect. We got picked up at 7.30am sharp and then went and picked the rest of our party up which took about half an hour. Down at the harbour it was a shit show. Imagine 10 buses, twice as many cars/taxis and three times as many bikes and people all stuffed into, or trying to get into a space about the size of a tennis court. Absolute mayhem. And then you also have the same old people trying to sell you sunglasses, hats, cigerettes, fans, fruit! NO THANKS - I already have sunglasses on my face. Once we finally got onto the boat and got sailing it was beautiful. It was a really hot day so it was nice to be on the water. However it was pretty sad seeing all the rubbish floating around. Just random bits scattered, like a plastic bag here, a bottle there which was pretty shit because there was a lot compared to what you'd see in NZ, however it didn't detract from the snorkeling.
We had seven people all up on the tour (not including the divers and the boat people), either snorkeling like us and others were out to scuba dive like scuba-steve. We met a super nice Australian guy who was our friend for the day and was basically the only one (except the only English speaking guide) that talked to us the whole time. The water was divine, and I only got one gulp of water, which I thought was pretty good seeing as I have never snorkeled before. It was fun pretending to be a mermaid and we saw some pretty cool specimens including a big spotted moray eel having his teeth cleaned by a small minion of a fish. Jason kept thinking he saw octopi (octipuses? octipodes?) but actually they were just weird shaped rocks. After the first hour and a half we moved to another spot for another hour and a half of splashing about, then had lunch, which was cooked for us on the boat out of a small box of a kitchen room. It was delish. After lunch we headed back, stopping by a floatring fishing village on the way! Overall a pretty sweet day, we were super tired when we got home at about 2.00pm so took a cue from the locals and had a siesta before heading out for dinner.

On Friday we decided to head out to Vinpearl Island, which is straight across the bay from Nha Trang. The island is resort, amusement park, water park and beach all rolled into one. Everything is included in the cost to get over there. It has a giant tacky Hollywood-style sign that lights up at night just in case you forgot it was there. You get to the Island via cable car/gondola (which we were informed is the longest cable car across water in the world.) Line to the cable car gave us an insight into how Vietnamese people "queue;" which means they push in front of the silly westerners and act indignant if you try to stop them like you've slapped them in the face. We ended up getting sheparded into another line from the group that forced its way in front of us and beat them to the cable car (Ha!). Cable car is ok. Gives some views, is pretty high off the water, Jamie was freaking out about the small gap which was open to the outside world, but nothing to spend a paragraph in a blog about... The actual Island was pretty sweet. Jumped off and went on the first ride, which looked tame enough. Turned out it flipped you upside down and spun around about twenty metres off the ground (I can tell you that Jamie thoroughly enjoyed it and loved feeling like she was falling out of her seat the whole time. Especially when she didn't even know the ride was going to go upside down). Then went on the roller coaster which was ok except we got split up to sit in separate seats. The day was warming up by that stage so headed over to the water park to hit some sweet slides. Was actually pretty cool since they had a whole range of about 15 slides of varying exhilaration levels.  Was pretty dead in the water park so almost no lines anywhere.  

Wandered back up to the rides end of the island and decided to join the line for a roller coaster type two person sightseeing cable thing that pulls you up to the top of the hill (by the Vinpearl sign) and lets you drive back down in your own cart. Jumped in an innocuous looking line and ended up being swamped by dozens of people like it was 50% off at Glassons or something. Apparently if one person in a group (defined as a number of people wearing the same hat) pushes past you, the whole group then has full rights to push past - even though there is no room to push to. Would have been far easier if someone had explained that rule as part of the ticketing process, but was a highly uncomfortable experience being smashed from all sides for about 45 minutes. Would not recommend. Ride was ok, sweet views but that was about it.  

(That was Jason's take on the ordeal, here's mine: It was Horrific. It was everything I hate about small spaces and people at the same time. I had my first anxiety attack and just couldn't move, which as most of you know is not my bag. When we finally got to the barriers I put my arm up which didn't allow anyone to pass which made the lady behind me pissy because it stopped her and probably her five children, brother and uncle from getting past....and then she got even madder at me because my hair was wet and was getting her front wet - I don't know what she expected when she was leaning up against me that close - which is what I told her. Long story short the ride or whatever it was, was not worth it. I was so panicked that I didn't enjoy the ride at all and really wish we had flagged the whole thing.) 

Today (Saturday) we didn't do too much. We strolled down and booked our easy rider tour which consists of a three day bike ride over the mountains into the highlands where we go to a place called Buon Ma Thuot and ride elephants!!! Then the next day on to Da Lat all the while stopping off at coffee, pepper and rubber plantations. (See the next chapter for details!!!) Then it was so damn hot that we went down to the beach we we lazed in the sun and went for multiple swims before heading off to the 'BOOZE CRUISE' to watch the mighty All Blacks slaughter the Irish (sorry Ger had to be mentioned :D) The bar filled up with a few Kiwi's, a couple of Australians and about two Irish and it was a good old time. I got a bucket of gin and tonic seeing as it was happy hour and it nearly put me on my ass, while Jason happily slurped away on his multiple massive steins of San Miguel. We started to watch the Australian game but quickly got bored with all the kicking and annoyed at the middle aged Australians who were getting drunker and talking a lot of shit. 

Still am yet to pack my bag (am a little worried as to how all of our bags are going to fit on the back of the bikes) so I have to get on to that now... 

Until next time...Adios!

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Evan on

People that can't queue drive me bananas

Evan on

The gondola looks amazing so I'm sure it was worth it. I've never seen one across water like that before

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