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Brian Thom’s Travel Diary

Friday, 25 May 2007

Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam

MapOkay so it's either Nha Trang, Natrang, Nhatrang... I've seen all of those, but you get the picture. Andrew and I took the bad ol' night bus. Which sucked. My God those things are terrible. It's almost like the bus company TRIES to make you as uncomfortable as possible. We sat across the aisle from each other, and were later joined by some Americans, two girls, one from Alaska the other Montana. They were pretty nice and all, but I think they could play for the Stampeders offensive line. The one with the EXTREMELY broad shoulders sat next to Andrew, and I laughed at him. The only time your happy on the night bus is when other people are clearly more uncomfortable than you. We also made a pitstop, in which we were hassled to purchase some bananas and chips and water. We bought some to support the local economy and the little girls would kick us, pinch us and throw rocks at us after we bought some. They wanted us to buy more. Believe me, nothing makes me want to buy from you more than getting abused. I love it! Also, you know your in Vietnam when you are offered cobs of corn (still in their husks of course) by two monks on the bus.

Anyways so Nhatrang is a beauty. It's a beach town that most Vietnamese go for their honeymoon. It reminded me of Miami but clearly not that nice. The place seems a lot more westernized and it is because it is a lot further south where the Americans were mainly situated back in the war. Example: the roads go in two directions rather than one road of pure automobile anarchy (like Hanoi). It makes crossing the street a lot easier. Andrew and I just basically walked around, scooping the place out. Walked along the beach and debated joining in the soccer game... we decided they probably wouldn't like that (or our skill level). We went to a bar and met up with two swedish girls we'd met before as well as the British guys we talked to in Hoi An who are coming to Calgary. It was a great night and when I left I was sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a cab or motorbike. Some guy came and sat next to me, placing his arm on my shoulder. He asked me if I needed help getting a cab, to which I said no thank you. He then told me he was getting a cab for me and that I should pay him for such a fine service. The cab he was hailing for me turned out to be about... oh... 4 or 5 steps from where I was. This definitely was not needed, but hey, turns out he was a cop. I certainly played my cards right by simply paying him a little bit and walking away. I'm unsure about the outcome of not paying Mr.Sketchy Cop but when one is alone in Vietnam and confronted by a shady cop for a ridiculous service, I'm positive that outcome wouldn't be a good thing. Moving on, I made it home after clarifying to the cab driver I only had so much and could he please not drive me all over the friggen map because he'd be wasting his time. He drove me back, and on the way we were followed by- you guessed it- a couple of prostitutes! I had no idea what they were saying to me and frankly didn't care. The cab driver took off and these two ladies confronted me. After several no no no and them saying yes yes yes they eventually left me alone and drove off. Phew! Back safely. Didn't know a two block drive could have so much adventure.

Vietnam in general is a pretty unique country, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It's a place that, as I write this, is difficult to describe. The people are almost always extremely friendly and courteous, but it absolutely makes you appreciate where your from and what you have. I would say so far this trip has been a great display of how good Canada is and the lifestyles we live with. It's not like the people aren't happy here however. I suppose not that I would expect them to be, but it moreso is an example that money and prosperity don't necessarily coincide with happiness. It's definitely a different kind of place. The next couple days Andrew and I are thinking about seeing more of the town, maybe going fishing, parasailing... stuff on the water. Will write more when something interesting happens!

So this is getting pretty long, I'd better go. Hope everyone back home is safe, not having to bribe cops or shake off prostitutes.