Saturday, October 10, 2009

Next stop: Nha Trang

So after four days in Saigon, we took the bus north to Nha Trang,
which is a coastal resort about 450km from Saigon. The trip took ten
hours and was absolutely beautiful. Saigon sprawls for what seems
like forever, and the road system is pallid compared to our highways.
Sharing a two-lane road with oxcarts, scooters, bicycles, and semi
rigs is an interesting experience. We hugged the coast for miles,
riding past mountains and rice paddies, and yes, the women do wear
conical hats while working in the fields! It looks like an
exceedingly tough way of life to me. Nha Trang, though, is a great
place. Yesterday, we spent the morning lounging on chaises on the
beach, and in the afternoon walked the two miles to the National
Oceanographic Museum in the nice, warm rain. It's a pretty
interesting place because they have all sorts of live specimens of
indigenous species AND something like 80,000 aquatic "pickled punks" lined up on shelves for research. It would be a great movie set.
They also had a complete humpback whale skeleton that was found when digging drainage ditch several miles inland and a whole bunch of super sad taxidermized critters (they really do need to be kept in a climate controlled environment).
Today we took a boat trip to several of the islands off the
coast here. We got to do some snorkelling, sat on another beach, had
a great lunch on the boat, and we were entertained by our guides, the
musicians. The boat crew got out their instruments and dragged
members of the tour onto the tabletops to sing with them; I
participated as best I could, but I don't know the words to "Yellow
Submarine." Colin actually got up on the table with them and ....
danced. It really was a great time, and to top it off, we met some
funloving Aussie tourists who have offered their hospitality to us if
we get to their homeland. More to come!

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