The 14 hour bus journey could have been done in half the time. But we stopped several times along the way, the topper being the one hour stop at 4:30 am. Why so long? The drivers had to watch the Arsenal football match on TV! L was thrilled bc he got to watch it, too. I just wanted to get there.
Arrived in Nha Trang at 6:30 am. Checked into the Phu Quy Hotel, had a long nap, then hit the beach - 3 mins from the hotel. Rented some umbrellas (about $1.50 for both of us for the day!) Wasn't long before we got touted again to buy the sunglasses, postcards, etc. I swear we saw the same people in Hoi An! It is really frustrating, though, when you just want to relax and you keep getting interrupted by touters! Oh well, no way around it. L did end up chatting to 2 kids, aged 14. They were smart, witty and spoke perfect English, so L gave them a shot. Ended up asking each other questioins and joking for about 30 mins. When L still refused to buy the (photocopied) postcards, the kid said "You drive me crazy! You talk too much!" Then he walked away. L said that kid's either going to end up rich or in prison, hopefully the former.
We did get approcahed by one woman, though, who had the secret weapon. Fresh seafood. A feast of lobster, prawns, scallop, crabs and snail for $10. we told her to come back at 1:30 (it was a bout 11:00 at the time). And sure enough, she came with her whole spread at 1:20, ready to go! Peeled everything for us right there, left us with a picnic table full of seafood and it was surprisingly fantastic!
Ended up that night drinking at a place called the Sailing club. Right on the beach, this place looks like a world cass resort, but on Vietnamese scale. Exhausted from our stresful day, we turned in early in order to prepare ourselves for MAMA LINH'S BOAT CRUISE!
We signed up for this on the recommendation from Kachoo that if we don't do anything else in Vietnam, we have to do this. She said it was one huge booze cruise, tons of fun. Either things have changed in 5 years or we went on the wrong trip (she did say it was Mama Hahn's but we saw no evidence of that one) Let's just say, the cruise bit was all that was true to form. Spent the day on a boat, stopped at 3 or 4 different islands and had the chance to snorkel, had lunch on the boat, had a "happy hour" in the water which was more like happy minutes and consisted of everone jumping in the water with life preservers and having one cup of really bad rice wine. Went to another island where we had the opportunity to jet ski or parasail but way to expensive for us. Then ended at a fishing village on the water - we saw the village but no fish. It wasn't miserable, we made some new friends -- but we wouldn't recommend that particular experioence to anyone. Sorry Sue!
Next day we hit the Mud Baths. Not sure what we expected out of a mud bath in Vietnam, or anywhere for that matter. But it was fine - once we adjusted to the feel, smell and look of the mud. It was quite soothing, in fact. But you can't last very long in there. From the bath, we hit the warm shower, then of to the warm mineral bath, which comes from a natural hot spring 40 meters underground. Meant to purify the skin, which we needed desperately. Ended up spending the rest of the day next the pool,. whoch looked so inviting after the hot baths -- but turned out to be hot as well -- 38 degrees! not exactly refreshing but we did end up swimming, more like bathing in the pool later on.
That night we were going to take it easy again in preparatiom for our test dive the next am. That was the intention, of course, as we sat down at an Internet Cafe to catch up on emails for a couple hours. Just when we got to the cafe, though, the power went out! In the entire town. Hmmmmmm, what shall we do? It was still happy hour at the Sailing Club... Done. Wasn't long before L met an Irish guy and his sister, talked about rugby, then the rest was history. They forced us to stay and drink with for the rest of the night (mind you, the power came back on after about an hour...) I finally turned in at 12:30, L lasted til after 2 and still managed to catch the Man U game on TV. His total sleep? About 2 hrs.
6am wake up call the next am hit us like a ton of bricks. we got ourseles and our hangovers out of bed and headed to the dive store for our first diving experience. Lesson for all: never dive with a hangover, much less for the first time! We got on the boat, had a bit of instruction, then off we went! With a guide, into the South China Sea. I was super scared, mainly bc I was afraid the mask would fill with water, I would go blind and I wouldn't be able to breathe. But getting over that, I was fine. Not too many fish to see, though I did see a Moray Eel! But did finally get ued to it when it was time to head back. L said he had a blast. I wasn't convinced, in fact, I got ill just after the dive (hmmm, hangover, seasickness, fear, which do you think it was???) But we had a second dive as well which went much better for me and we have decided to get our diving licenses in southern Thailand in a couple weeks.
After that we were absolutely exhausted, had a long nap, then back to the Sailing Club. Met up with the same guys, only this time all involved drank water the whole night and were both in bed by 12:30.