Nha Trang, VietNam
This beach is a bit more happening! After a few relaxing days at Mui Ne, we took a short bus to Nha Trang, which is more of the same, but ohhh so different! ("Same, Same, but Different" is a favorite Vietnamese expression -Ann has a T-shirt!) The beach front at Nha Trang reminded both Ann and me of a boardwalk scene in Ocean City, MD. There is a strip along the sand with vendors hawking most anything imaginable, and we even saw a small amusement park with a ferris wheel.
The streets of Nha Trang were a smorgasbord of seafood, and it was possible to buy most any delicacy from crabs to lobster and have it cooked right there in front of you. Having had plenty of beach, and a little too much sun, we decided to do some scuba diving. Nha Trang is one of the premier dive spots in VietNam. However, due to later than normal monsoons we didn't have the clearest water, but the reef was beautiful and it was great fun. The waters were a bit cooler than expected and Ann, who froze through the first dive, actually had to don two wet suits for the second. Sadly it just can't compare to the diving we did in Belize -and the comparison is unfair. However it's still worlds better than the diving I did getting certified off the murky coast of New England!
Nha Trang also offers some great shopping, much to Ann's delight. She may have gotten carried away buying four paintings, two on rice paper and two on silk, but for a total of $8 for all four, I let her go at it. And I also promised I would buy her a big house to hang all our new art in. I guess we'll mesh the Asian decor with the Latin?
It seems that I also attracted some of the riff-raff of Nha Trang. It's very common for motorbikes to offer rides to the tourists (like taxis), but here after the proffered " Motorbike?! Ride?!", I got secondary, more subtle offers of "Weed?! Marijuana?! You smoke?!" Ann didn't seem to have the same issue, and in fact didn't realize what was going on for the better part of two days. Needless to say, I'm no stranger to those offers anywhere I go. Maybe its the bushy goatee, unshaven face, and general traveler's unkempt look.
Speaking of general unkempt looks, we've been on the road for exactly one month, and Ann is feeling more than a little gritty herself. (Think nothing of the posh place we ponied up for in Mui Ne. I have a feeling that another splurge is coming!)
Although Nha Trang has quite the "scene" and constitutes more of a stop for many other travelers, we're not 25 anymore, and don't exactly fit the backpacker mold. It's scary to think that we are sometimes the best dressed travelers around. (And I don't think I've ever won a Best Dressed Award!) Since we had our fun diving, I'm sure we'll be soon to our next stop.