Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 74 of 94 › view all entries
I unzipped the legs from the cargo pants that I bought in Branson, Missouri. The resulting short pants were more presentable than those I normally wore. After showering, shaving, and donning those with my best T-shirt - a striped one with a pocket, two buttons, and a collar - I pedaled north along Tran Phu.
A uniformed employee nodded my parking lot approach as though I were a guest. There was no need to lock the bike. I strutted into the lobby of the Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang Hotel like a guest might. I had used the snappy attire once before on Phu Quoc to gain wireless internet access at one of the plush beach resorts. This time, like then, dressing sharp paid. I was in and moseyed toward the elevators.
A huge lounge dominated the 11th floor.
The view south towered over Tran Phu Street, the promenade, and Nha Trang Beach. New high rise hotels - and the tall construction cranes building them - encroached the scene. Despite that, and mid-morning haze, the views were spectacular. Off-shore islands in the bay were more pronounced. Big Buddha sat tall to the west, bright above city buildings. To the north, I found the familiar Tran Phu Bridge and identified the University of Nha Trang. Within minutes, I was back on the Martin 107 pedaling north.
I had ridden over the Tran Phu Bridge many times, always stopping to gawk at its views of slum-like shanties and fishing boats along the Cai River.
Leaning back on her elbows, she gracefully worked the oars with her feet. It looked like she was pedaling a bicycle up a steep incline in slow motion while lying down on the back fender. The sampan glided smoothly along a narrow channel between Xuong and Phuong Islands on the Cai River. Several modern one-story homes dotted one river bank while tin-roofed wooden shacks on stilts dominated both.
We went upstream about a kilometer to the Ha Ra Bridge which connects Phuong Island to Nha Trang. People waved and shouted to the woman. They were curious, not accustomed to seeing a foreigner joyriding their waterways. She'd yell something back, often with a laugh. Surly the woman earned a better income than they this day since I was dressed sharp, wearing my Sunday best like a spendy guest from the Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang Hotel. Dressing sharp paid - both ways - but it was worth it.