Surf, Dive and Rock n'Roll

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 01, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hya Everyone, How are you? Hope you're all suffering the cuts of a thousand Valentines cards!

We have been in Nha Trang for the last few days which is a beautiful beach town. There are a lot of tourists here and so the obligatory bars and restaurants occur as well as hundreds of people selling things on the beach, still at least there were some waves to catch. Surrounding the beach thought there are beautiful sites. We spent the first day walking around the town, first stop the Long Son Pagoda. Unfortunatly the main prayer room was closed as the monks were asleep but the Reclining Buddha and Giant Buddha (well deserved name) at the top of the hill were amazing. When we arrived we were immediately surrounded by kids selling postcards, they were asking for $10 for 5 a bit steep but they were saying it was to fund their night school education which made it very hard to say no. We are still learning when to give money and when not to as it's impossible to give to everyone. At the top though along with the views what made it more fun was the kids playing around the steps wanting their picture taken.
We also went to the Po Nagar Cham towers which are Hindu worship sites, these were great apart from the main hall which is so enclosed and full of burning incense that soon our eyes were streaming and we had to cover our mouths to leave.
While walking during the day we were offered so many moto's that in the end we took one for a short journey. There was an argument at the end when he tried to change the agreed price, this is so hard sometimes and it makes you want to just give in but we were strong and all was ok in the end.
Next day we went diving as it was so cheap (I'm sure the equipment and safety standards are just as high though!). Not as great as Kho Lanta but we did see some really huge Cuttlefish (nearly 3ft) and a puffer fish. As the price was so good we were not expecting much but we were told it would be "Gormet Vietnamese cooking" which turned out to be very stale meat sandwiches, still never mind! As we were under budget that day we decided to treat ourselves to a pizza, we asked for a cheesy spicy pizza with pepperoni on half for Danny. There was a little confusion so he drew a great picture with pepperoni on half, unfortunately when it arrived there was everything on half and nothing but tomato sauce on the other, bugger, still serves us right for having pizza!
Next day we spent visiting the surrounding islands by boat, beautiful but a little crowded (possibly 45 people). The first island was in a protected marine park which I'm sure was only protecting jelly fish as both of us saw more of these than anything else and was very painful in the end! Lunch, singing, dancing, swimming and free red wine at the second island before going to the worst Aquarium in the world which was thoroughly depressing. Why not make the tanks bigger and maybe throw in a plant or two, it's not like there isn't enough sea surrounding?! Outside at least there was a rock pool with turtles with a bit of space, they were great.
That night met a fellow Stokey person while having dinner on a street corner and again bumped into someone from Cambodia for the 7th time, guess there is a well trodden route through Asia.

Before arriving in Vietnam I was not entirely sure what to expect, the pre-conception I had was a mish mash of War films, stories from other travellers and imagining it would be similar to other areas in South-East Asia. Now here I find it completely different and also exactly the same. Vietnam has be stunning and the most beautiful country so far. There is a wonderful mixture of French, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. Even the religions are mixed; Tam Giao literally meaning 'Triple Religion' is a fusion of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism with Chinese and ancient Vietnamese beliefs. In South Vietnam Caodai is followed by more than 2 million people and is a fusion of parts from Buddhism, Confuncianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Vietnamese spiritism, Christianity and Islam. I think Danny mentioned this before but it is fascinating!

We have received lots of attention since being here and it seems everyone wants to say hello, I found Danny once surrounded by four generations with kids, mother, grandmother and great grand mother! With lots of people saying hello all the time the response gets a little boring so we've started mixing it up a bit, the best reaction we have got so far was from us waving with rock fingers whilst saying 'what up dog?', the kids nearly fell over at this, I kinda hope it catches on!

So two weeks in and onto the next place via an overnight bus - I love those and I know you love hearing about all our sore bum moments.

Love to all
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