Nha Trang rest day
The morning of day 8 of the ride started a little slow. Still a bit rusty from the night before, we crawled up for breakfast at about 9:30 on the top floor of the hotel. We returned to the room to relax for a little while after breakfast but a power failure killed the air conditioning and the room soon turned into something that resembled a sauna. Because of this it was decided to make the most of the massage parlour across the road that was linked to the hotel in the hope of a cool and relaxing hour. Unfortunately the whole street was without power so the massage parlour was just as hot as the hotel room. This was also our first experience with the, well lets call them “additional services” that some of these places are renowned for.
While the previous massage in Hoi An had been in the hotel and all above board, this one wasn’t so much. Now I can only speak for myself here as we were all in separate rooms but my girl had no shame in offering these services and wasn’t afraid to pull out the hand gestures to assist where her English language skills fell short. Being apparently a little slow (and deaf in one ear) I had real trouble understanding what she was on about until she got to the point and went to put a hand straight up my briefs. After sitting up quite abruptly I tried to explain as politely as possible that the only thing I wanted after 7 long days sitting on a bike was a decent (and genuine) massage. Not embarrassed or deterred at all she wasn’t ashamed to push for a very large tip of double the cost of the massage at the end. Eventually she relented and accepted a mere 50% and we were on our way. I met the boys downstairs and we headed out to grab some lunch, all with a few stories to tell.
Although better for having had the massage, Jarrod and I were still a little rusty after the night before and we settled on having quiet afternoon. The others made their way back to the hotel room to relax in the now working air conditioning while I decided a lounge on the beach was a better option. After passing a couple of hours on a lounge out the front of Louisiane Brewhouse with a good book, some music and a couple of cold ales I was eventually joined by Jarrod. Chatting away and admiring the view and fresh sea air we noticed a bit of a group forming down closer to the water around a couple of street vendors and went to investigate. These street vendors were selling (later we would find out illegally) the most amazing seafood I had seen. For less than a quarter of what we had paid in the restaurant the night before we could have fresh seafood cooked and served right there on the beach.
For 200,000 (US$10) dong we negotiated a deal for 2 large crabs, 2 small lobsters and 4 king prawns (seen below). It was all cooked then and there over red hot coals and served on a small mat straight on the beach with a selection of dipping sauces to complement.
The meal was absolutely incredible, especially given the cost. We decided later the crab may not have been the freshest as it was rather salty, but the lobster and king prawns were amazing. While we sat on the beach with numerous other groups and got stuck into the food we heard a bit of commotion behind us and turned to find the street vendors disappearing in to the distance with their seafood and fires over their shoulders. As this was all happening a police office approached from the other end of the beach and began packing up everything that had been left behind. He did not bother us while we finished our meal and did not say anything so we can only assume that the vendors either did not have a permit to sell on the beach or were in fact themselves illegals but either way it was the last we would see of them.
I couldn’t resist getting a photo of this woman selling smokes and snack who approached us while eating. The character in her face was just brilliant. It’s a shame about the ugly mug laying across the front of the shot though.
Once done eating we returned to our lounges (that we had rented earlier for 30,000 dong) and polished off another couple of ales while the sun went down behind the beach. We then set off back to the hotel to get changed and find some dinner. Not that we needed a lot after our afternoon snack.
As we wandered the street that night looking for a place to eat I began to realise one of the reasons why I had enjoyed Hoi An so much. It was the lack of hassling. In Nha Trang you can’t walk 5 metres without being approached by someone to buy a book, some smokes, eat at their restaurant, or god help us, go on a “easy rider” tour. These guys offer guided bike tours to both the north and south of Nha Trang and we were apparently their prime targets for business. Despite telling them numerous times we had out own bikes and were three quarters of the way through our own tour without a guide they kept pushing. While i’m sure they offer a decent service for those who haven’t got the desire to go it alone I couldn’t be more bored with the tour plans and photos these guys had to show for it. They basically just hit the touristy spots and posed for a bunch of really cheesy pictures.
Anyway, we eventually found a decent meal and returned to our watering hole from the night before for “a few quiet drinks”. We did after all have a big day tomorrow heading up to Dalat and wanted to make sure we were fresh and ready to go early in the morning. HA! As you can see from the photo below we had a very relaxed start to the evening that was in keeping with our plan.
Unfortunately we also ran into the Argentinian guys Jarrod and I had been drinking with the night before, aswell as a group of backpackers on an Intrepid Tour. Well to be honest that’s about all I remember (or care to share for that evening). I know it got going at the Red Apple Bar and ended at about 2:30am drinking from buckets on the beach out the front of The Sailing Club. Anyone who’s spent any time in Nha Trang probably knows or has at least heard of The Sailing Club. It seems to be the one place to really party once you hit midnight and with buckets about the only option for drinks, things tend to get pretty wild.
As Shauno and I stumbled home later that night we pondered just how much fun it was going to be sitting on a bike all day tomorrow. Little did we know just how bad a ride we were in for.