Nha Trang...what a beautiful place! Hawkers trying to sell you things...aggressive motorcycle taxis trying to get you to take a ride...and "book" sellers wanting you to buy marijuana...
Vietnam is such a world of conflict...such a wonderful land and culture...overtaken by tourism and desperation for money...so desperate that having a conversation with a local, without it turning into a sales pitch, is impossible. Is tourism good for this country? Or are the rich getting richer, while the poor are leaving their culture and traditions behind to cater to the tourist market?
We spent 6 nights in Nha Trang, and not a dull moment
! From the beach to the city...something new to see every day. We walked further into the main part of the city, away from the beach and the tourism for a day. It's amazing to see the people at work...ladies, older than my grandma, carrying more weight on their shoulders than I can carry at my age! I don't know how they do it! The men, also older, are working the bicycle taxis, called cyclos. Apparently, they are used for more then just people transport...haha...we saw one with a whole loveseat and matching armchairs strapped to the front...one with a full sized fridge on it...a scooter on another...and a whole dining room table and chairs on one!! It's unreal what they do. It was Woman's Day on March 8th..what a great day...haha. The streets were lined with people selling flowers...so many sellers, and yet, I came out flowerless...not sure how that happened...haha.
A visit to Nha Trang isn't complete without playing in the mud! A day at the spa...the mud spa! Thap Ba Mud Spa offers different packages, so we chose one with the mud bath, the steam bath, hot mineral bath, the swimming pools, and a massage! First....the mud bath. They fill a large wooden tub with warm mineral mud. It's ooey and gooey, and feels fantastic! haha. It's the first time in Jay's life that he has been able to float...in the mud! lol. After soaking ourselves for about 30 minutes, we showered off and moved on to the mineral bath (it took about 3 days before mud stopped coming out of our ears!!)
. The mineral bath was hot!! Jay has been wishing for a hot tub for 7 months now...and he finally got one! The spa is beautiful, all outside, shaded with umbrellas....Once we were tired of our private mineral bath spa, we moved on to the swimming pools, where we were served drinks and food and sunbathed for awhile before braving the massage. If a massage ever costs less than $5, DON'T DO IT!! It should be called a torture-age. We had our own massage rooms....I walked in my 3 by 5 room and looked around....curious about the bar that ran across the ceiling...but didn't think much of it. The girl came in...bigger than me (important for the upcoming details). The first ten minutes were wonderful...relaxing, soothing....OWW...what are you doing?...no way...you're kneeling on me??? Really? Is that necessary??? So I hold my breath and brave through it...5 minutes of torture...finally, it's over. She tells me to sit up, I go to get off the bed...relieved that my massage is over....and she says...NO...and pushes me back down! Now I'm lying on my back, while she dislocates all of my fingers and toes!! Then she rolls me over again. I feel an awkward shape on my feet...that's weird, doesn't feel like her hands...it moves up my legs...are you kidding??!! I can't believe it...after already feeling violated and taken control of...I can't believe it...is that her feet?? No way....is she walking on me?? Can't be!! YUP!! I guess that's what the ceiling bar is for!! She walks up my legs, onto my back, jumps a little, walks up to my neck...I'm in shock...still can't believe what's going on
. As a germ freak (which everyone knows I am!)...I'm traumatized by the fact that this lady is rubbing her dirty, disgusting, diseased (in my mind anyway) feet ALL over my body! Finally it's over...I sit up...and before she lets me even grab my clothes, or get off the bed, she's handing me a questionnaire to fill out and asking how much tip I will leave her!! Well...I don't know who else has ever been bullied before, but when you're sitting alone, naked (only a hand towel to cover with), and the lady who just kicked your butt is asking you to rate her "massage" on a scale of one to ten...I'm NOT going to put anything less than perfect! I was too scared to indicate a tip amount...as I didn't want to offend her...so I made up a story of how my husband has the money and he makes the decisions (which we all know is a lie...haha)...so I said he had to decide! So I managed to escape from my torture cell and pass it off on him!! Still in shock, and disgusted by the feet massage...we went in the steam room for a few minutes to debrief from our horror...as Jay's massage was quite similar to mine...haha. Then we showered, and went back to the pools to wash off some more greebies. We finished our day with a "zacuzzi" bath and returned to the hotel for another scrub down!! Now I remember why I don't like massages!! haha.
An old friend of mine from work lives in Nha Trang, so we met up with her and her boyfriend one night
. It was great! Carrie and Justin took us out for dinner to an amazing Vietnamese BBQ restaurant. The food was wonderful...It's always fun to meet up with friends during our travels!
We woke up feeling ambitious one day, so we booked tickets on a sleeper train to Danang for the following evening, then had the bellboy at the hotel mark down every sight in Nha Trang on a map for us. We were off to explore! First stop...museum. We walked for about 2 or 3 kms to find the museum....no way....you have to be kidding! We found the museum....the building was falling apart, rats running around the yard, the windows were boarded up....clearly not open...and seems to be closed for years! Strike One....So much for that! Next stop...a supermarket! Whoo Hoo! haha. We thought it was odd that he would send us to such an old run down supermarket...and it wasn't in the right spot on the map...but it must be the right one...since it's the only supermarket we've come across! Strike Two: We found the real thing...just down the street...bright, clean, so much selection...haha. We bought some snacks for our train ride and continued on....to the Church! Wow...what a wonderful piece of history. It's a Christian church, Gothic Style. Fantastic...so beautiful from the outside. So we went to go inside...DOH...it's closed for a two hour lunch!...Three Strikes...we're out! Enough is enough...lol. We were worn out and ready for a nap
The train didn't leave until 10:30pm, so we had the whole day to play. Vinperal Island...here we come!! There's a cable car that takes you across to the island. Your entry fee, 350,000 dong (~$17), includes entry to the waterpark, the amusement park, all the rides, and the cable car. We weren't ready to go swimming, as we were catching the train later, so we just walked around. It's a beautiful island. The beach is fluffy and white...although feels synthetic...very strange. We strolled up and down the beach, then walked through the waterpark...looks like fun!! The amusement park was last...only about five rides...mostly for small children. However, there is a large arcade! We wanted to test our luck at the basketball arcade, so we walked around and around and around...where is the token booth?? We couldn't find it anywhere! So we bought some popcorn and started watching other people play the games...then it hit me! Can't be! No way! The coolest thing ever!!...A free arcade!! All the games are free...included in the entrance fee I guess. You just walk up to the game you want, and start to play! It was great. We ended our evening watching the sunset from the side of the mountain...spectacular view. What a way to end a great day!
Wait...the day isn't over...we still have a train ride
! What a gong show! I hope we never have to take another sleeper train in Vietnam again!! The sheets and pillows aren't changed between clients, the beds are tiny and you need to store your luggage on your bunk with you. Okay, fine...not so bad. We get comfortable, when all of a sudden, the speaker starts BLARING Vietnamese music! it was sooo loud, that we couldn't even talk to each other...haha. Finally, one of our local roommates figured out how to turn it off...thank goodness! It was a long night...a very long night...with our roommates leaving, and new ones coming. For some reason, it's okay to yell at each other while others are trying to sleep and to play your music from your cellphone really loud. None the less, we didn't get any sleep, and sleeper trains in Vietnam do not compare to sleeper trains in Thailand! haha. Glad to be in Danang!
Nha Trang...what a beautiful place! Our hotel is lovely...perfect view of the beach and Vinpearl Island...rooftop swimming pool...listen to the ocean waves in the morning...