Monday, February 22, 2010

NHA TRANG

Not much historical stuff to talk about here as this is a mellow kinda town and I guess always has been. As the Lonely Planet puts it “ This is where the fun zone starts.” This is the place where booze cruisers, adrenaline junkies, sun worshipers, and water frolickers all alike go to have fun. I have to say that I agree with them. Never mind the uptight squares of the north, this is where you can hang ten and relax a bit and let it all hang out, literally. :P Anything you could possible want to have a good time starts here. Discos round the clock, snorkeling, scuba, tubing, temples (yes, more temples!), island hopping and whatever else you can drum up if you get bored.

We planned on staying for about 4 days and ended up staying there for a whopping 7 or 8 days. Most of the reason for us lingering around was because of the Tet Holiday the Vietnamese were celebrating. Tet means New Years Day! Most of Southeast Asia follows the Chinese Lunar New Year Calendar and for 2010 that means that New Years Day falls on Feb 14th. So lucky for us, we got to celebrate New Year’s twice in 2010. Oh Grrreat! Happy New Year everyone! Just to give you an idea of how big this holiday is here and what it is like imagine July 4th, New Years Day and Christmas all rolled into one for 5 days straight! Whew! That’s what it was like. Everything shuts down cause everyone skips town to be with their families. Grocery stores, booking agencies, restaurants (save a few) all shut down. Its like being in a ghost town in some places. So needless to say, we stayed in Nha Trang for a few more days so we wouldn’t get stuck out in the middle of bfe looking to hitchhike to Saigon or worse maybe having to pitch a tent or something. Lucky for us Nha Trang must be one of those places that everyone goes to because we got to see some parades all done up with Dragons, bands and colorful outfits and nightly performances of local dancers and singers all for us to enjoy and join in with all the fun. Yippee! Happy New Year everyone! To top it off, 2010 happens to be, yes you guessed it, the Year of the Tiger! So we got to see tiger displays on every street corner as an extra. Woohoo! All kidding aside, it was really fun to be a part of it and to watch these people celebrate with each other. It was obvious that this was a special time for them and we were really fortunate to be a part of it. They had a fireworks show at midnight that makes our July 4th look like a couple of roman candles in the backyard. They spared nothing to light up the sky, seriously. All in all, it was good fun.

In addition to all the other stuff we did, we had decided before we got to Nha Trang that we were going to learn how to dive and get our license and that’s exactly what we did. It took 3 days (2 with boat sickness for me since I didn’t have any pills. I’ll leave the details out) to accomplish but it sure was worth it. Nha Trang is known as one of the best diving destinations in Vietnam, if not the best, and we were not disappointed. The diving was excellent on all 3 days and our instructor was very good so we learned a lot. One of the biggest reasons we decided to get our license here is because it costs about half as much as it would have cost to get our license in Thailand where we plan on doing some more diving. Now that we are certified lungfish, we can just pay for the equipment and dive away.

The rest of the time was spent just frolicking on the beach, getting tanned, swimming and just sightseeing. We made a couple of Vietnamese friends while in Nha Trang as well that took us out one day and showed us the town. We rented motorbikes and drove all around town. It was definitely a different perspective. Way cool. I’ll let Katie tell that story as she now has a Vietnamese best friend to always come hang out with and it was really KATIE that she wanted to hang out with. I was just along for the ride.

On to Saigon! Ciao!

1 comments:

Margie February 24, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

Chris
I am beginning to think you are only sleeping! Our last three Skype calls have been only with Kate! Oh I know it was the Tet beer?? Just kidding! The diving sounds really fun and I am a little envious. Ask Kate if she remembers the fire in quarters in Quantico, VA when she was a toddler of 3 or 4? That is where all our SCUBA gear was fire damaged! Love the blogs there are a great read!

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