The VW, squid, and a game called Xiu Tai

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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The VW - bar on wheels
 

One night last week a 1968 orange and white Volkswagen van rolled up to the Alamo Bar. The Bavarian driving it looked for a place to open shop for a few days - his VW had been converted into a mobile bar and entertainment center. The top opened like the lid of a coffin and at least one side hinged level to make the bar top. I had seen them before in Thailand and Australia but this one drove up from Saigon. The concept seemed brilliant. A few days later, rumor had the VW set up by the port area. I pedaled out there hoping to enjoy a street-side beer but there were no Volkswagens to be seen in the parking lot or on the street.

 

On the way back to town I detoured into meter-wide alleyways to see where they went.

Xiu Tai
A small self-contained community thrived in the narrow lanes; houses, grocery stores, eateries, and a tailor shop. I found nice views of Nha Trang Bay and of the beach from near its far southern end. A lively group at an outside table invited me for a beer. Though none spoke English, I was able to learn that one was a diver using mask and snorkel. They put a small dish of squid in front of me. One piece was flat and dried and the other rolled and stuffed. Both were tougher than any jerky I had eaten in the States or South Africa. Their flavor seemed somewhere between seaweed and dirty socks but both went well, gnawed with a spicy sauce and beer.

 

Once the curiosity of my presence faded, a gathered crowd of children and adults went back to a dice game called Xiu Tai. The 'board', a black mat rolled out in the alley, was divided into halves and had a series of numbers across the top. Parents fronted 'lucky' kids to place hefty bets. Even 100,000 VN Dong notes changed hands. A little girl of four or five shook dice in a tea cup. My hosts paid for my two beers and the squid. The woman running the place handed me a toothpick and I pedaled home.

 

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The VW - bar on wheels
The VW - bar on wheels
Xiu Tai
Xiu Tai
Ms. Piggy and the VW
Ms. Piggy and the VW
Boats at the port area
Boats at the port area
The port area
The port area
Cable car tower
Cable car tower
Boats in the bay
Boats in the bay
View to Nha Trang
View to Nha Trang
Boats in Nha Trang Bay
Boats in Nha Trang Bay
Squid
Squid
Back-alley beer
Back-alley beer
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85