Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Left Hanoi and.....


.....flew into Nha Trang.

OK, so I was flying on something called "Vietnamese Airlines"! This thought had scared the hell outta me!! I mean, I was expecting a WW-I prop plane with Ho Chi Minh at the helm with the passengers lying five-across each wing.

Nooooooooo..........nope!!

Bluntly??

This is THEE best airline I have EVER flown!!! Airbus A321's built five minutes ago, Rockwell-Collins Airshow 4200 model three-dimensional GPS software to watch, SPOTLESSLY clean planes, REAL actual meals that you DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR!! VERY friendly staff and seats have a LOT of legroom for some bizarre reason......

I have flown on one or two airlines before in my life......

....and I would MUCH rather fly in Coach on Vietnam Airlines than in First Class on Northwest Airlines (which is basically like somebody went into Archie Bunker's house and stole 12 vinyl/pleather recliners from 1967 and those recliners are STILL residing in Northwest Airlines First Class). Closest anything the US has that comes close to Vietnam Airlines is jetBlue....and even jetBlue has a long way to go to compare to Vietnam Airlines!!!

Got to Nha Trang, and had a reeeeeeaaaaallllly LOOOONG-ass bus ride from where the plane put us down on the tarmac to the terminal. Have a look -









THAT was bizarre.....the bus rode quickly, but we still coulda out-walked it because we landed right at the luggage claim (you can see my plane in the background)! Weird......

So.....took a cab, like, 30 miles into Nha Trang (they shuttered the old airport that was, like, three blocks from the beach) and grabbed a hotel room (I had dead-zero idea where to look.....so I looked into the Lonely Planet guide for Vietnam that my buddy Sambo gave me. They listed something called "La Suisse Hotel" and I went to check it out.

At first, it seemed OK.....

But when I got to my room and looked CLOSELY AND CAREFULLY at my bedding......I had seen swarms of little teensy red ants. These ants would NOT go away....they were militant towards me!! "Colonialist Imperialist pig!! Leave this room at once!! This is the proud, sovereign homeland of the worker's republic of Antnam!!" they screamed at me.....

....then they proceded to maul my ass whilst I was trying to sleep. Lotsa nice little bite marks and itchy bumps on my arms and legs!

Tried the Wi-Fi that they advertised at the La Suisse.....didn't work.

Made three requests.....still didn't work.

Noticed that, yeah, it is a nice, quite sidestreet......but the walk back to the hotel after dark is veeeerrrry dodgy. "Heeeey Misser.....me get you girl who do everything!!" "Heeey Misser.....smoke up?? Smoke up?"

Loved the extra secure deadbolt in my room....it was the first thing that I noticed when I got there -




















So, when I was having breakfast the next morning in the lobby, I looked out the doors and windows to the street. Saw the biggest-ass rat I have ever seen....just kinda meandering down the sidewalk. Too funny....

It was when I got my tea and I opened the lid to the sucre bowl and saw a miniature swarm of the red menace (the same ants that bit my ass up good the night before......either the same ants or their close relatives)......

.....at that point, I said "Fuck THIS!!!" and ran upstairs, crammed all my shit into my bags......paid the total tab, and left!!!

I mean, do not misunderstand me!!!!!!!! This is at third-world room rates....like five to ten bucks a night. Cool....nice....big deal, I'd say, and I'd laff about all these annoyances!!!!!

But I AM NOT dropping western-style room rates for something like that......naw......

So, I dropped fiddy buxx per night at a hotel two blocks down The Golden Hotel) and got their Family Suite. Muuuuuuccccch better........
video


Plus, their wastepaper bins are wishing not only me, but everybody happiness. I LOVED IT!!!! That is sooooo Asian and soooo cool. I mean, can you picture the scene?? It's a Sunday afternoon in Bumblefuck, Nebraska, or Bumblefuck, Alabama, or some place like that. So, a father takes his five-year-old son out shopping for wastepaper bins at the local Wal-Mart (because that's what fathers and sons do on Sunday afternoons in Bumblefuck - they go wastepaper bin shopping at Wal-Mart).

BOY: Look, daddy. I would like this one (points to bin pictured below).









FATHER: Huh? Whaaa? OK....lessee it.

(Boy hands bin to father)

FATHER: What the fuck's this, boy? "Happiness to Everybody?" Whaaaa kinda faggy-ass shit is this, boy? Christ Almighty.....why don't I jus' git you a Goddamm Barbie doll, now? I ain't buying this for you....and I swear to God that if yo Momma goes an' buys this for you, I swear I'm just gonna start tellin' folks that you ain't my son! Ya hear me??

BOY: But daddy....

FATHER: But daddy nuttin'!!! Now come on......let's find the "Proud to be an American" bins or the Walker: Texas Ranger bins.....


- Nha Trang is a weird place. It is alleged to be where people from Ho Chi Minh City go to get away. SHIT!!! If THAT'S the case.....I really don't want to hang much in Ho Chi Minh City (or "Saigon" as most people still call it).

Nha Trang is, like, a six-month hangout for ex-pat Aussies who can't afford to live on the beach in Queensland or South Australia and a tourist destination for Aussies who can't afford to go to Bali (where most Ozzies go). But it's weird.....it is very dodgy at night (I've walked down streets in Gary, Indiana at 1AM!!! But I ALWAYS take a taxi everywhere in Nha Trang after the sun sets).

But the thing that I really like is that, being a Socialist nation, they do NOT segregate the tourists. That always kind of disturbed me in Montego Bay and almost ANY Mexican beach resort town (e.g. - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Acapulco, etc.): They barb-wire fence off and place ARMED guards around several square miles of beaches to fend off the residents. THAT really always pissed me off.....these people are Mexicans and Jamacans.....it's their nation, they should have a right to access the beaches!!!! I'm really glad Nha Trang isn't like that.....watching the kids play in the surf yesterday was really kinda neat......

Other notes.....

- It seems that the beach isn't really enjoyable at all when it's 90 degrees out, 175% humidity, the sand has lots of tiny, tiny little pebbles in it (this wasn't exactly powered sugar-style sand here) and the water in the South China Sea is cold and refreshing....in the same way like how 95-degree bathwater is cold and refreshing....so I spent most of my time in Nha Trang in my hotel room in Arctic air-conditioned bliss......

Can I go back to The Oregon Coast now?????


- The Vietnamese concept of lunch is really weird. Between 11:30am AND 1:30pm, the people take lunch.......

OK, cool.....soooo??

Well, almost every single place shuts down during this period!! So they eat a bowl of Pho for, like, a half-hour....then take a big 'ole nap until 1:30!! It's weird. I mean, even the places that hafta stay open (restaurants, mini-marts, etc. etc.), the employees literally nap during this time period!!!! Sooo....if I absolutely hafta do something between 11:30 and 1:30.....I always try the mini-marts and restaurants where the people are awake.......'cause it's bad form to wake someone from a nap to go git you a pint!


- Vietnamese beer is FAAAARRRR superior to Chinese beer.

I'm on a flight to Saigon for 24 hours shortly....then two days in Bangkok! I'll post more shortly.....

-E-

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