Thursday, June 10, 2010
VIETNAM: THE ROAD TO NHA TRANG
Well... cast your mind back a couple of weeks -- before the Cannes and Venice excitement -- and wake up in Dalat, Vietnam's Niagara Falls without the falls. We've just been to a Buddhist monastery -- where fortunately we were able to escape our idiot guide who strolled around in his preppy scarf, texting all and sundry. And now we're headed to Nha Trang and have stopped at a Buddhist cemetery on account of road construction. Driving on, I asked the snoozing guide if Vietnam had any problems with soil erosion. "No," he said. And one minute later...
The non-erosion continued for the next half-hour through miles of timber cutting and deforestation. And then we encountered the homes below. They belong to the Ethic Minority People, as the Vietnamese put it. They've lived here for centuries and are being squeezed. Note that the homes are built on stilts. The stilts are to protect against snakes and lizards, flooding, and are a place to store things.
Just when things were getting boring we drove up into the Cloudy Mountain range and found ourselves flying by turns into and out of, well, clouds.
Then down and on through rice and tea plantations.
Finally we enter Nha Trang. I remembered massive walls in Xian and other cities in China, so as we approached this smallish underpass I asked if it might be the walls of the old city. Our guide roused from his slumber in ther back seat, rolled his eyes, and said, "Of course." Then rubbed his eyes and texted somebody.
At last we got to our hotel across the road from the beach. Have to say, it was EXTREMELY nice. Although we had to keep the lights on because of the sunken living area beside the bed with no railing. (Also a sunken tub by the toilet; nearly cracked my head open on a midnight trip. :)
But what a view! What a sunset!