Dressing Sharp

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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11th-story view south
 

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.

Tran Phu Bridge
Glass double doors swung out onto a roof-top patio nicely decorated with palm trees, potted plants, and a few tables and chairs. I was prepared to buy an orange juice for the privileged presence, but no one was around. I really didn't mind, just going there for a few pictures.

 

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.

Break time
I decided to explore the bridge itself so parked the bike and descended concrete steps to the sandy ground below. The area was littered with low racks of fish, some kind of cartilage, and hefty skins of fish all drying in the sun. Flies swarmed around them at ground level. People under the bridge were not homeless - they lived right there. One woman offered a sampan taxi ride and I took it.

 

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.

Paddling the sampan
Either side was congested with docked fishing boats. From the Tran Phu Bridge they looked idle, but up close scurried with activity. Nets were being mended, gunnels varnished, and supplies loaded. Their nightly catches had already been off-loaded. Crews worked to prepare for another night on the sea before taking their own afternoon rest. Some boats provided fuel and oil like a floating gas station and others delivered gigantic blocks of ice. Sampans like mine shuttled food, drink, cargo, or passengers. All activity revolved around the fishing fleet, the area's way of life.

 

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.

worldcitizen says:
Love the colors in the photos. You're definitely convincing me that I need to give the Nha Trang area another chance some day! I didn't have the greatest impression of it when I was there.
Posted on: Feb 03, 2009
bostonjoe says:
Awesome blog man, I enjoy reading, always
Posted on: Feb 03, 2009
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11th-story view south
11th-story view south
Tran Phu Bridge
Tran Phu Bridge
Break time
Break time
Paddling the sampan
Paddling the sampan
Nha Trang fleet
Nha Trang fleet
Roof-top patio
Roof-top patio
Patio
Patio
Construction
Construction
Hon Tre Island
Hon Tre Island
View inland
View inland
Big Buddha
Big Buddha
Across the street
Across the street
Hotel lobby
Hotel lobby
Dragon
Dragon
Lobby shrine
Lobby shrine
Basket boats
Basket boats
Drying fish
Drying fish
Calm waters
Calm waters
Cruising the Cai River
Cruising the Cai River
Gas and oil
Gas and oil
Beverages
Beverages
Colorful home
Colorful home
For good luck
For good luck
Gas and oil boat
Gas and oil boat
Hauling sand
Hauling sand
Home port
Home port
Ice
Ice
Loading
Loading
Local transport
Local transport
Nets
Nets
Net markers
Net markers
Approaching the Tran Phu Bridge
Approaching the Tran Phu Bridge
Rolling-up nets
Rolling-up nets
More nets
More nets
Crossing the Ha Ra Bridge
Crossing the Ha Ra Bridge
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85