Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
109Trip End Mar 31, 2011
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Anyway, enough complaining, we'll try the bus next time and you can hear about how dismal that is in the next installment.
Nha Trang itself has a large excellent beach and a busy town behind it with a tourist area that manages not to feel too touristy because there are lots of Vietnamese people here on holiday too, which is very nice to see. They like to go to the beach in the early morning, when you can also see the locals exercising, and in the late afternoon. In the middle of the day there are mostly Westerners - including a lot of Russians - getting thoroughly sunburnt. Lying on the beach, you are approached on average every 5 minutes by someone selling paintings, books, food, massages etc. If you wanted to sit absolutely motionless all day, people will even come round to show you the fish they've caught and then cook it for you on an impromptu barbeque. We find it hard to keep telling people that we don't want anything because they all look to sweet and good-natured.
The food in the restaurants is excellent and the prices scarcely believable - we've yet to exceed 5 pounds for dinner; a bottle of beer is 40p
We hired a scooter and toured around a bit, but it is a very big country and we didn't get far on a map despite riding for a couple of hours each way. The road runs along near the coast parallel to the railway with agriculture on either side, and then a chain of green hills inland. Out to sea are lots of small islands. It all makes for lovely scenery, which you admire at your peril because the roads are even worse out of the city. Trucks, coaches, cars, motorbikes and bicycles all make their way in as haphazard a fashion as pedestrians in Piccadilly, just wandering off wherever they like when they feel like it, so everyone has to proceed with extreme caution at ridiculously slow speeds because there is no convention for what other people will do. The image of scooter riders behaving like pedestrians is enhanced when we see people riding them around the tiny aisles between stalls in the covered market, which is one of the best we've seen and felt all the more animated for people working on things in the market like de-husking coconuts and cooking strips of meat with a blow-torch like device.