A Swarm of Vendors

Nha Trang Travel Blog

 › entry 18 of 43 › view all entries
As our train approached Nha Trang, we were woken up by our guide, Cat. "Good morning! Wake up! Next 20 minutes we arrive!" We opened the curtain and were impressed by the view of lush green mountains. It would have been nice to get off the train right there. I decided I should use the bathroom before we arrived in Nha Trang. I stepped off the train and an old woman in a cone hat walked up to me. She stood in front of me and started talking to me in Vietnamese. She wasn't deterred or bothered by the fact that I had no idea what she was saying.

We gathered our group and went to meet our bus. It was a quick drive to our hotel and since it was early, we were hoping they had rooms available.
Luckily, they did. After we saw our rooms we were not surprised that they had vacancies. The rooms were relatively big compared to other places, but it looked like it had had its glory days in the 1970s. Very tacky. But like everything else in Nha Trang, it seems to be under construction. I slept decently on the overnight train and was feeling much better, but decided to rest some more. After a couple hours I had breakfast and then walked down to the beach. At the beach closest to our hotel, I found roommate #2 and the Canadians. I paid 20,000 dong ($1.25) for a beach chair under an umbrella and joined them. I opened my book and started to read.

Except just a few words later, a woman walked up to me. She started asking me a bunch of questions, the typical, "What is your name? Where are you from?" etc.
She seemed nice but didn't seem to be quite as genuine as the people in Chau Doc. Of course soon after the formalities, she tried to sell me everything sun. She was the ringleader of a group of vendors who wouldn't leave us alone the entire time we were at that beach. I bought a sarong from them because I heard it would come in handy on the next two over night train trips. One of the Canadians bought a massage which sounded and looked like she was getting beat up. Even when the vendors were taking a break from trying to sell us things, they hovered around us. The ringleader sat on my beach chair while her friends sat on the ground next our group. They ate fruit and then left their peels and seeds on the sand next to The Canadians.

I decided it would be a good idea to take a walk down the beach.
There was nothing too different, just more umbrellas, beach side restaurants and vendors. But of course when you're in motion, you won't be bothered as much. There were some interesting parks and in one of them, some kids asked me to take their picture, so I did. Later on I freshened up and met up with the rest of the group. We got in touch with The Kids who had arrived in Nha Trang the day before. We met with them for dinner at The Sailing Club, one of the beach side places I had walked by earlier.

The night was young when we finished dinner. The Sailing Club is supposed to have a pretty cool night scene at their bar/club but either it was too early or Wednesday just isn't the night to go there. Most people in the group didn't seem too enthusiastic about checking out Nha Trang's nightlife, but eventually Cat and the woman from England agreed to go with me.
We found a recommended bar in a guide book and headed there. As we walked through the streets, cockroaches and rats scurried about. Cyclo drivers slept in their cyclos. Local clubs blared techno music. People were sitting on little stools and cooking and eating outside. Nha Trang at night seems more real than the sunny touristy Nha Trang during the day.

When we found the place we were looking for, we noticed a bar a few doors down called Guava. It looked much more lively, so we decided to go there instead. Wednesday night was two for one Peach Bellini night. The three of us sat around chatting for awhile. When it seemed like things were winding down and we were ready to head back, we were approached by a loud Aussie in a straw cowboy hat. He complimented the English woman on her very curly blond hair.
He told me he was a really big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and wanted to talk with me about California. He felt like one of their numerous California songs was the story of his life and he told me TMI details of how he struggled with drug addiction for years. Soon his friend from Eastern Europe joined us. He was seriously about seven feet tall, very drunk and wobbly. When he found out Cat was Thai, he started another TMI conversation with her about a girl he had met in Thailand. We eventually said goodbye to them and walked back to our hotel laughing and reflecting on the humorous and fun end to our night.
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Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85