Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 57 of 126 › view all entries
In my endeavor to find and cross all seven bridges that span the Cai River between Nha Trang and Highway 1 - about a seven mile distance - I got to explore spectacular countryside far off the beaten path. Bamboo forest, rustic farm houses, coconut groves, banana plantations, and shaded gardens all scattered along both banks of the river. Cars were non-existent and any traffic was on foot, bicycle, or motorbike. The only horns were on the oxen tugging wooden carts. Those hauled sand, rock, lumber, coconuts, sugar cane stalks, or any assortment of freight and cargo like a pick-up truck on a Mid-west farm.
I didn't have small denominations for the toll-keeper at the far end of the Bang Gia Qua bridge so I offered him my pack of Cotabs.
Swaying in an eastern breeze, bamboo stands creaked and groaned like the hull of a cargo ship under full sail. Huddled herders squatting in shadows wondered who I was. As patiently as they watched their cattle lapping from the river or grazing its grassy banks, they observed my every move. Living a frontier life just five miles from town, it seemed odd that they had seldom seen a foreigner.
Hao Mai flowers colored one farmhouse yard.
I made my way downstream along the northern bank. Thanks to GoogleEarth, I knew the narrow dirt track would lead me to the village of Vinh Phuong where the Cai River drops about a meter over a rocky cataract. I passed a few older houses and several banana plantations. Further on, a pump house lifted clear river water into an irrigation channel that led to the rice fields.
I finally reached the Vinh Phuong Bridge but the riverside bar there was closed. I made the crossing back to the south side and continued downstream to the familiar Cay Bang riverside bar-restaurant. Tuyet was flattered to have a picture of her that I had taken on a previous stop there. And since she was not in her Huda uniform, pushing that brand, I enjoyed a Saigon beer in a mug of ice. It went down well in that rustic setting.