Chinese New Year
What a journey.......9 and a half hours, smooth enough but about 4 hours too long!!!!!! Not sure how we're going to cope with South America.
It was worth it though. We've had a fabulous couple of days here, but, lets begin at the beginning and how about ending at the end, now there's a novel idea!!!! We got on the bus in Saigon at half ten and got off it in Na Trang hours later at about 8. Obviously we got off it a few other times in between but I don't think I really need to tell you about all the urination stations, lets just say there were alot of stops and I had a wee in most of them and Sweetpea had a pot noodle in one ( don't tell the Crow!!!...and don't tell Ria I wrote this HE HE .
You gotta be....so macho
) Ok then back on track, we got to the hotel, had a brief discussion with the receptionist about the room they put us in, changed rooms to a better one on the ground floor, made friends with the receptionist, had a quick shazzer then headed off out to see what Chinese New Year in the Trang is like.
So we weren't really sure what was going to happen so we headed towards the beach. As soon as we turned the first corner we could see we were on the right track - the whole town was literally heading in the same directon, the roads were blocked, people were everywhere selling balloons, mimosa bushes, and bamboo pyramids, it was utter chaos....and absolutely cool !!!!!! We had the intention of getting something to eat but soon gave that up and settled for a couple of cold bottles of Saigon beer.
Everywhere you looked there were groups of laughing Vietnamese drinking and having fun, it was such a great atmosphere. We wandered up the road a way, all the time having a laugh and joke with the locals, and then what did we find.....only a stall selling red wine!!!!!! It may not be famous for its plonk but honestly at under two squid a bottle who's gonna complain, I'd drink it again, it certainly did the job!!!! Twelve o clock came and the fireworks began. What a show, half an hour of non stop explosions ( similiar to my trips to the loo after eating that squid in Sihanoukville ), everytime you thought it was going to stop another deafening volley would occur ( again similiar to the squid experience !!! ). What a great display. Afterwards everyone drifted off home and so we also began our walk.
Sweetpea turned on her satnav and guided us directly back to our gaff, god she's good, i'd have probably still been wandering around now !!!! Oh I forgot , on the way home , we felt a bit peckish so what did we have, yeah you got it Sherlock , Noodle Soup!!!! Not bad, a little bland, nice cuts of meat, lost a few marks on artistic interpretation though as the lettuce and beansprouts had seen better days, overall though about middle of the table, not championship material but should be safe from relegation!!!! Then we went to bed, obviously after a good teth clean and a wash under the pits of love!!!!!!
Next day, actually it felt like the middle of the night as it was only about 7.30, the receptionist decides to wake us up just in case we are booked on any trips, NO is the answer, but we get up anyway.
chasing the dragon
..Seize the day and all that hippie zen thingummiebob!!!! So we're having showers and all I can hear in the back of my head is this, thud,thud,thud,bang,bang,thud.....I'm thinking damn Dalat red wine, then sweetpea says can you hear those drums beating ????? Well yes.....so i'm out the door to investigate, and whats going on????????? just round the corner there's a dragon dance on the go!!!!!! I race back to Adventure Rat, it's time for some adventuring. We finish getting dressed and we're off. We get round the corner and bugger, they're gone!!! Now what?????????? What are we going to do now??? On go the thinking caps and we decide ok, lets get some bikes there's buddahs to see round these here parts. We start walking to the bike shop and what do we hear?? More drums.
hey there big boy!!
Round the next corner they're at it again, two dragons dancing in and out of a shop before being chased away by some guy dressed up as a cross between a hamster and a bird with a big stick. Once it's over they pile into a truck and hit the road.....not too far though only about 200 metres so we watch them again. Apparently the shopowners hire them to come and dance around so as to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year...still don't know about the hamster though!!!! We spend the next hour chasing the dragon around Na Trang's streets, it really is amazing to watch...what a great start to the day!!!!!
What next then? Well, Na Trang has a pagoda where a giant buddah lives and watches over the city, so lets go and see it.
The lady in the bike shop gives us a map and we're off through the city.
oh my buddah!!
Considering you are supposed to be able to see this guy from all over the city, we haven't seen him yet!!! Where are you oh learned master buddah????
What a day of sightseeing!!! First off we arrived at what we thought was the Pagoda we were looking for, we could see a massive buddah so we pulled off the road and went in search. A local family looked after our bikes and we climbed the steps to the top. We had forgotten for the moment that it was Tiddley NY, hundreds of Vietnamese were in the temple praying for good fortune inthe coming year. At the top of the steps we were met by a big fat buddah and a pretty impressive pagoda , amazingly ornate with another buddah below circled by other statues - amazing we thought , incredible!!! Then we climbed some more steps and there in the distance was an enormous buddah, the temple and pagoda we were at was impressive but we were at the wrong one!!!!!! Back down the hill we went and followed the hoards up the road to another turnoff and WOW that is one big budd!!! The temple at the top was split into three and this massive buddah, and we're talking Huge with a capital huh, looking down at the town.
now thats what I call a buddah!!
We wandered around pretty amazed at the whole thing , praying going on all around us and the smell of insense thick in the air, then just as we're about to leave Adventure Rat starts chatting to this girl and before we know it her dad has taken us around the back of the temple and through a hidden door and we're in the belly of the buddah, eyes streaming from the insense, in..fu**ing...credible !!!! After we came out they took us down some steps and showed us another buddah, this time reclining and made us touch it's arm and then our own heads to bring us luck in the new year. Next up we had to climb inside this enormous bell which a monk then whacked with a piece of wood and prayed for our future. Without bumping into the young girl and her dad we would never have been allowed to experience all this, what an incredible couple of hours!!!!
Next on our tour of the town we went further up the road to some Cham ruins, again full of worshippers and insense.
we ahd a great time wandering around , watching some traditional dancing and singing but I'm going on a bit now, so no more about that, BORING, BORING BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!......and then we left. After a day of touristic exercise it was time for a bit of relaxation, 5 km up the road was a mud bath centre and this is where we headed.
On the way, our stomachs called us so it was time to add another chapter to 'NOODLE SOUP AROUND ASIA' .....we stopped in a little town where a small group were gathered around the soup stall and ordered up. I can't really describe the soup we had there but if you can imagine a load of rotten fish boiled up with some old green leaves chuck in some overcooked noodles and you're approaching what we received!!!! It was the absolute pits.
mud, mud, glorious mud!!!
..if we continue eating noodle soup for the rest of our lives we aren't going to find a worse one, no marks for taste, presentation or artistic merit, the judges very quickly returned their verdict..................NIL POINTS!!!...
So after leaving most of our soup and hopping very quickly back on our trusty steads we were back on our way. At the mud baths we splashed out ( not literally, that could have got messy ) and went for a hot bath for two which lasted about 30 mins, followed by a lie in the sun to harden that mud around our pores, a quick shazzer and then a hot mineral water bath to cleanse and rejuvenate, how very decadent we are!!!!! We could have had a plunge in the pool but by now the sun was tired and had decided to start heading for bed so it was time for us to head back to town.
Later after dropping off the bikes we treated ourselves to a pizza, which was DElish and the perfect end to our perfect day whipping around Na Trang. Tomorrow we are heading back down south to Mui nee so it's another early start, time for bed NIGHT NIGHT.