My first time in the theme park, Communism Park

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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It feels like I am on a different planet from where I last sat to write this blog.  Not only that, but it feels like I have also traveled the appropriate distance to be at a different planet since I last wrote this blog.  The sad part is, I have so much further to go...  So let's talk about Vang Vieng, Laos first as it was where I had left off on the last entry.  Vang Vieng is a trip.  If you haven't been there, it would be hard to understand what this town is all about.  It is a small village, town, street, whatever, that is claustraphobically littered with Western tourists who flock their to enjoy the fruit of the land, the party scene.  I will try and explain to you a basic day of a traveller in Vang VIeng.  Wake up, eat breakfast at around 10am-12pm.  That isn't sometime in between that window but rather the entire window itself.  2 hour breakfast, mandatory.  Remember not to choose your breakfast destination by the quality of food but rather which episode of Friends or Family Guy the restaurant is showing.  Every single restaurant plays either Friends or Family guy, with many of them having seats specifically made just to watch. As in there are no seats with your back to the tvs and thus normal booths that would be for four are only for two.  12pm, in just a bathing suit, no shirt, no shoes, no camera, just shorts (and some money), catch one of the tuk tuk trucks to the begining of the river.  Get off the truck, pay 10,000 Kip, $1.50, go to first bar.  Buy a drink.  Take in the sight of a human being flying on a giant swing, starting 40 feet up, jumping off the ledge, swinging by the massive rope, and then falling into the river.  Buy another drink.  Start going up the stairs to the 40 ft ledge.  Let your heart pump double the normal speed and the adrenelaine to pump through your body.  Grab hold of the swing, the trapeze if you will, jump, fly, fall 40 ft.  Swim out before the river sweeps you downstream.  Drink.  Walk or swim to bar #2, 20 metres down river.  Drink.  Jump off a 25ft high ledge straight into the river.  Swim out before the current sweeps you down river.  Drink.  Fly again on this bar's swing.  Dance.  Shmooze.  Swing once more.  Walk to next bar, repeat bar 2.  At the end of the night, decide to walk to next bar, Mud Bar, where you can join the 30 people having a mud fight in a giant pool of mud.  Drink.  Catch Tuk Tuk home.  Hot Shower.  Enjoy Exctasy (the shower, not the pill).  Go out for dinner.  Bar hop at the bars in town until 3am, go to bed.  Leave Laos 5 days later.  On my 2nd day of partying, I had done the swing 10 or so times and I was loving it.  I went on it again not realizing that the combination of my wet hands (no grip) and sore, sore biceps (no strength) would result in me jumping off a 40 ft high ledge, my weight coming down onto my hands, losing my grip, and falling 40 feet to the water on my side.  As I hit the water, my breath was knocked out of me instantly at which point I doggie paddled to the closest bar and collapsed onto the patio.  Perhaps I am being a bit more dramatic than needed but it killed.  My entire back/side was red with the skin almost bubbling from its base.  It was basically the worst "five star" (when you slap sopmeones back) ever given in the history of 5-stars.  LOL.  That pretty sums up my experience in Laos.  Great country (sarcasm as to think I saw Laos would be insulting to the country). The truth is I never really made it out at night as partying for 6 hours in the sun was enough for me but generally the latter description of a typical day is what most people do.  It was fun but for whatever reason, I shut down in Laos.  I really didn't find a groove with the english people I was with.  I had zero interest in communicating with them, which was unfortunate as they seemed like nice people but I was just off.  I am sure they though I was a huge douche but whatever, to be honest, I really don't care what people think of me.  Graduated High School in '99.  10/11 years ago.  Left that all behind.  I think one of my issues with me being here, and finding some issues with the travellers is that in Vancouver, my friends are basically all 28 and up, with a several closer to 40.  Coming here, I have only been around people 22-26 and thus it is totally different.  I try my best to enjoy it but hanging out with a 22 year old and a 38 year old is just two vastly different things.  Anyway - on the last day of my stay in Vang Vieng, Sgt. Terry, Chloe, Lady Olivia, and myself decided to actually rent the tubes and float down the river.  Absurd, I know.  Like why would you ever not want to get smashed at the bars for the 5th straight day? Totally.  It was fun at first (the tubing) but after 6 hours of it, it became cold and tedius and we jumped into a motor boat taxi and it took us home.  Lady Olivia and I had a good time together but it became apparent within Vang Vieng that it wasn't meant to be.  I basically had nothing to say to her after a while.  Perhaps it was a symptom of me shutting down but it wasn't very fun towards the end of the stay.  That being said, I think she's pretty cool and if we had met in a city where 24/7 inhabitation wasn't the only option after 1 day of meeting, it would probably have been better.  She's smart and witty and has a fantastic smile and I am happy we were able to spend a few days together.  Getting out of Vang Vieng...  Oye.  Was to be at the bus stop at 1pm.  Waited 15 minutes, took a 20 minute ride around town and was dropped off about 2 doors down from the original stop.  Give me a cheer for efficieny! Waited another 40 or so minutes.  Took 5 hours ride to Ventianne, Laos.  The guy who sold us a ticket told us to show our ticket the the driver at which point he will instruct us how to find our connecting bus.  Problem:  He didn't speak a word of English.  We show the ticket to a few people, they have no idea.  We (by the way, me is myself with Yan, a guy I met on the bus who is taking the same bus to Vietnam as me, from England, never going home, trying to travel SE Asia before he settles in to teach English somewhere - very cool guy).  Think Snatch, the movie, now you can hear him in your head.  Anyway - we show our ticket to another guy and he says, oh yes, follow him.  Our ticket says the bus leaves at 5:30, its 6pm.  I hope it waits.  Ths guy drives us into Ventianne city.  Drops us off.  I ask where our bus is, he has no idea.  We tell him to take a hike, no pay!  We walk for a little, find a travel agent and ask where this bus would be.  They tell us to get in their car and we do, and we wait, 30 minutes.  Finally it is full and it takes us to the bus stop, the exact stop where we already were.  Ouch.  Turns out the bus leaves at 7, and we made it.  We are ready for the 24 hour bus to Danang, Vietnam.  On the bus we start talking to the two Dutch girls in front of us.  Nice enough, nothing too exciting but some new blood to talk to.  Eventually we hit the Vietnam border and wow - diofferent experience than the other countries.  When you arrive in Thailand its a "Hello, Welcome, enjoy...".  Vietnam we first had to get our papers signed, then we had to get our temperature checked, then we had to get another form signed, then I had to sign a piece of paper, for the sake of replicating my signature as he didnt believe I was who I says I was (sorry, London East Side coming out).  Eventually we walk the border into Vietnam.  I am starving at this point but I can not eat as I still have a problem with eating food where I have no idea what it is.  Somehow I have taken a liking to seeing meat refrigerated (Canada) rather then it sitting in bowls under the sun.  I get a hard boiled egg and I pray there is no Samonella.  About 2 hours out of Danang, or 26 hours into our bus ride, the bus decides to break down.  Hooray!  So the four of us decided to hail a cab and get to Hui, which would allow us to get us to Danang, at which point we can get to Hoi An, which is our final goal of the night.  We did all that, although we skipped Hui as the cab was one of those 3rd world type cabs where its a huge mini bus and just picks up people off the street.  So there we were, us 4 in the back, and 20 or so Vietnamese in the front.  So funny.  If they only knew what we were talking about in English.  After we arrived in Hoi An, we settled, went for dinner, went to a bar and then went home.  The next day Yan and I grabbed some food, did a little shopping, went to the beach where the girls were, and then caught the 6pm bus to Nha Trang, farther South on the Vietnam coast.  We arrived in Nha Trang this morning around 6am and it has been a hellish day of exhaustion all day.  I basically just awoke from a 4 hours nap which was very much needed as I could barely walk to the restaurant for lunch before.  We found 3 Aussies on our bus who seem pretty cool and have decided to stay at the same hotel as Yan and I.  So tonight we will roll as 5 and hopefully it should be good good times.  One of my observations lately is the world's obsession with super cheesy music that just does not fly in North America.  All of the people here, as in the westerns other than Americans and Canadians, love music like Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams, Oasis' Wanderwall, etc.  They eat it up.  Its actually quite funny.  Anyway - I should be staying in Nha Trang for a couple days at which point I will likely bus to Saigon (Ho Chi Ming CIty) an then fly to Phu Quoc Island at the south of Vietnam.  Supposidly it is Thailand, Phuket, 25 years ago and thus I want to see it before it becomes Thailand, Phuket, today.  I'm coming home soon.  I can't wait.  So excited to see my friends, my laptop, my city, the Olympics, and start planning on California, which might have to be pushed.  2 weeks in Van may not be enough time for me... we shall see.

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Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85