09.08.2013 - 11.08.2013 35 °C
Last night we finally left Hoi An on one of our beloved night buses, we spent 8 nights there in total. We are now in Nha Trang and have been since 4.30am this morning, even though we were told we would not arrive until 6am. You can imagine how thrilled we were stood at the bus station in the dark at 4.30am wondering where we were.
After completing our diving course we spent our last full day in Hoi An, Friday, on the beach. We had a much needed lay in after getting up early for several days in a row for all our courses, after all are supposed to be on holiday. After breakfast we rented a couple of bicycles and cycled the 3km to the beach. We had picked a good day to come to beach as it was really hot. When we arrived at the beach we were taken aback by several women shouting at us to park our bicycles in there spaces. We ignored them and explored a little further to see if we could get out of paying, but there was no luck. We were not happy about paying just to park up our bicycles, it was only 5000 dong each which is literally about 20p but its not the point, you are charged for everything over here.
The beach itself was very nice, if a little crowded, clean sandy beach and clear water with restaurants running along the back and we soon found a couple of beds to hunker down on. The beds seem to be owned by the restaurants and we were told that if we eat here the beds are free, would have been nice to know before we paid for breakfast. If we did not eat the beds would have cost 60000 dong for two. We got settled, spent a while relaxing and Liam bought some new sunglasses as he as managed to lose yet another pair by leaving them on the diving boat. We then had an issue. Liam bought the glasses because he needed them an assumed that like always Chelsea had brought money, she had not, and Liam had just spent the last of his on the glasses. We could not pay for the beds. After being shouted at, Liam went to see if an ATM was near but had no luck. We decided rather than cycling back into town to ask the restaurant if they accepted card and eat there, covering the beds. We were not really hungry but it saved a 6km bike ride to the ATM and back. The woman at the restaurant said yes they accept card. No problem.
We passed another couple of hours, relaxing, swimming in the sea and sitting in the sun. At one point Liam dove head first into a wave with his new sunglasses on and lost them..... he had owned them for about half an hour. He searched the sea for about half an hour looking for them and Chelsea was amazed when he actually found them! We played in the sea until we got a little peckish and decided to eat and get a drink. We ordered a couple of beers and some water, sat in the restaurant and Chelsea ate a fruit salad, Liam had fried rice. The food was really expensive but we thought it would be being next to the beach. What we did not expect was how truly dire it was. It was the worse rice Liam had ever had, normal boiled rice that had been fried with nothing else, and a omelette cut up and placed on top. The only bit of flavour must have come from the three hairs he found within it. Needless to say he left most of it. They do not have a culture here of refunds or sending anything back, if it is no good then tough, We were annoyed at paying way more than we normally would, and way more than the food was worth but at least we did not have to cycle back into town. Or so we thought. When offered the lady at the restaurant our visa card and she held it in her hand looking at it like we had just spat in her hand. We told her that we had asked and she said she accepted card, it was now apparent she was lying. We should know better by now. Not only was the meal the worst we have ever eaten, it was expensive and now Liam had to cycle 6km to town and back to go to an ATM. We know we should have taken money, but we should not have been conned into eating here, if we had to cycle anyway we would have just paid for the beds rather than five times as much for the food.
When Liam got back he was seriously angry and did not want anything to do with the woman at the restaurant. He told Chelsea to go pay her, handed her his wallet and went to wait by the bikes to leave the beach as soon as possible. We almost got lucky when Chelsea went to pay and no one was there. She looked around for ages and the restaurant had been packed up so she just left but she was chased down the street two minutes later.
After cycling back to town (again), dumping the bikes, and showering we went to the dive shop. We had to meet our instructor to finish off our certification and apply for our PADI divers card. This cheered us up somewhat and we forgot about our drama at the beach. Our last night was spent at one of favourite restaurants, drinking the cheap beer and sharing platefuls of our favourite Hoi An food, wontons, white rose dumplings and spring rolls. We also ordered a fish salad to share for a change and it was incredible.
We booked the night bus for the following night so had another full day more or less to kill. We packed our stuff up in the morning, making the most of the noon check out time and went for breakfast. We treated ourselves to a rare full English, which even though it is no near as good as the real thing we always enjoy. After we had a stroll and past the rest of the afternoon in a café, our favourite past time of drinking, talking and occasional snack. On the way back to our guesthouse to get the bus we called at a Lantern shop as Chelsea has being saying since we left England that she was going to buy a lantern in Hoi An. She bargained it down to 80000 dong and has bought a beautiful white lantern, decorated by a hand painted tree.
We just don't agree with night buses and last nights was no different. When we got on we were treated to what looked like Vientamese stand up, which no one was laughing at and even though we did not understand a word of what was being said, even we could tell it was awful. Then unusually a film in English was put on. We put down our books and were enjoying the first ten minutes of this rare treat until the driver changed the language to Vietnamese. This was really annoying, as we could just about make out the English words that had been quietened down but over the top was one monotone woman speak Vietnamese really loudly for EVERY actor on screen. We went back to our books.
We slept on and off as usual but had come prepared with eye masks and ear plugs. We stopped a couple of times and then finally arrived at half four in the morning. We did not expect to arrive until six. We got a taxi to the guesthouses we had researched but being so early they were all shut. We went and sat in a park which overlooks the beach and sea and waited for them to open. We got some very unexpected entertainment whilst we waited. It seems a lot of people get up at 5am to come to the park to exercise. We assume this is because it is obviously too hot in the day but while some people come and run, and work out, most just come to do stretches. These people stand around, bending over, thrusting, squatting, flailing their arms, it is hilarious. We have no idea why they do not do this in their homes as they never move more than 2 feet, we assume they come to do it at 5am as it is dark and no one can see them while they flail around. We got to the point where we had to leave because we were struggling to control ourselves with our silent chuckles, we had never seen anything like it.
Our guesthouse was still not open so we had a sandwich and coffee at a street stall that opened at 5.30am, we passed an hour sat here until finally the rest of the city seemed to wake up. We managed to find a nice guesthouse, for $10 a night and although yet again we do not have a window, it is clean and has all the mod cons we need. We then went straight to sleep.
Once refreshed we went for a stroll to get our bearings and some lunch, Coming from Hoi An, Nha Trang is a bit dull but the beach and sea look nice and are only a stones throw from our guesthouse. There seems to be plenty of places to eat and drink a couple of streets away and we called into one of the cafes for lunch. After walking the streets we bought an ice cream and walked along the beach back to our guesthouse. We hope with it being Monday tomorrow it will be a little less busy.
We are going to stay here a couple of days and enjoy some much needed beach time. After leaving Hoi An we are a little underwhelmed but we loved it there and we know that no where else will be like that. We are looking forward to relaxing on the beach and planning the rest of our time in Vietnam.