Sunday, January 02, 2011

On the Water and Into the Highlands

12/31: Nha Trang
The first part of our morning in Nha Trang was spent walking along the beach and park, the main strip is a bustling place that reminds me of Waikiki. We sat down at a cute little place for some coffee for breakfast. Vietnamese iced coffee is the best stuff, WAY better than the lattes I usually get back home. Sweetened condensed milk is the key, and although I'm sure I will pay for it dearly later on (who wants to go to the gym with me?!), I'm going to enjoy as much of it as I can here. My dad chartered a private boat for us, so we spent the rest of our morning and early afternoon exploring the islands around Nha Trang. Hopping in the water for a snorkel was on the agenda for the first island stop, but it turned out to be too windy to be enjoyable. Luckily, the man in the colander boat came around to offer us the glass bottomed view of the reef. It was so unusual and funny and I think it ended up being more fun than a snorkel would have been. We've many snorkeling many times before, but it's not ever day that we get to ride in a bowl-shaped boat. On our next island stop, Raelene wanted to try parasailing but didn't want to do it alone. Since I was too chicken to go with her, my dad decided to do it so she wouldn't miss out on the opportunity. It was hilarious to watch them gear up and go, especially because it happened so quickly with no safety talk and little instruction other than to run when they said "run." It all turned out fine and they had fun, but it's still not my cup of tea. After taking a dip in the warm waters, we headed off to lunch on another island. We were first dropped off at some floating fish pens, where we had to choose what we wanted the restaurant to cook up. I do eat seafood, but it was a little sad looking at all those doomed animals, knowing that I will be sentencing one of them to their deaths. There was a lot of cool marine life in there that we refused to eat, including remoras, bamboo sharks and especially the whole pen of huge cuttlefish. Oh, POOR CUTTLEFISH! They are one of my favorite animals and it was heartbreaking to see that people were going to eat such beautiful creatures. In the end, Rae and I were okay with picking a red snapper to cook up and my dad and Co Hoa also ordered some snails. A commonly eaten fish and some gastropods, I think our conscience can live with that. We took a raft over to the restaurant and enjoyed a delicious freshly cooked lunch. Half of the fish was fried, ca chien, and the other half was put into a sweet and sour hotpot soup, canh chua ca. After lunch we headed back to the mainland and spent the afternoon checking out Nha Trang's aquarium, the Oceanographic Institute. For our New Years celebration, Rae & I had some beers at the local brewery, Louisianne, then called it an early night at 10pm. It was the most excitement we could handle, with the jetlag still hanging around.

Relaxing out on the water and enjoying the boat ride...
Relaxing on the water

Fish pens aka the lunch menu...
The fish pens that we chose lunch from

Raft ride to our restaurant...
Raft ride to land

Oceanographic Institute...
Large tank

Crazy room of preserved sealife. Makes me think of the ministry of magic...

New Years eve beers...
New years eve beers

1/1: Nha Trang to Dalat
Next morning we hit the road to check out Dalat, a town in the central highlands of Vietnam. The drive was beautiful and you could definitely feel the difference in the elevation change--the air was so fresh and cool compared to the warm humidity we had been in. Again, long slow roads meant that we didn't get into town until later in the day, so we were only able to do a couple of things when we got there--checked out a cute flower garden, then walked the markets and shopped. Co Hoa is great at bargaining, so I walked away with an adorable coat for $15, very exciting.

1/2 Dalat to Saigon
Before heading back to Saigon, we visited a couple of places around Dalat.

Visit to the Crazy House in Dalat
Crazy House, designed by architect Hang Nga, was indeed crazy but also very cute and tons of fun. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore and get lost in, and was kind of like being in a huge fairy tale treehouse. Great for adults who are kids at heart!

Bobsled track
Datlana Falls was cool, but the most exciting part of this stop was our bobsled ride down to the falls. We bought tickets and hopped on without reading the instructions other than "ride at your own risk." It was like a roller coaster, except you control your own breaking. This meant you had to make sure you don't ram into the bobsled in front of you, and hoped that the people behind you are just as careful. It made for an exciting and hilarious ride down the hill. Video to be posted shortly.

No comments:

Post a Comment