Same Same but Different
In the outdoor corner, coming in slightly damp:
Boat Trips, I say trips because I went on two, a snorkelling trip with some drinking and a drinking trip with some snorkelling. Both were good, but not legendary, such a trip once existed and was spoken of only in whispers and also by people who were not whispering.
Trip one, Nha Trang Tours, our guide Po took us to four sites for snorkelling, we could also dive if we wanted, at each site we saw ‘same same but different’ fish. There was a lunch on the boat. My husband was with me and it was his first time snorkelling. I saw seahorses. It had not started raining at this point. There was much rejoicing.
Trip two, Funky Monkey tours, our crew, I only knew one guy called An, took us to four places and two we could swim at. First we played drinking games (I had a whole beer) and sang in groups dictated by our nationalities then snorkelled for an hour. The sea was full of jellyfish but they did not sting so it was kind of fun swimming through them, a bit like swimming in a jelly drink. After that we went to a floating restaurant and had lunch on our boat. We then danced (or in my case attempted to dance) while listening to the Funky Monkey band. A floating bar – a ring with a bucket of alcohol in it- was procured and we jumped off the top of the boat, got thrown floats and had some drinks. I had two little cups, which I think was the same as this random 12 year old Chinese boy had; I don’t think he was even from our boat. Then we went to a little island with a beach but they water was a bit yucky to swim in so I sunbathed in the rain that had started. Then we all went to an aquarium which was okay, it had turtles and sharks but there was a thunderstorm by then. And lightning on the way back too, which was a bit scary. Husband had left for work by this trip, but it was still fun.
The legendary tour was called Mama Hahn’s green hat tour. It involved this same gregarious lady literally pouring drink down people’s throats, flirting and inciting revelry, free marijuana and much rejoicing. These tours may or may not still be running although the lady herself is missing, either she is in jail or passed or busy being shrouded in mystery.
Motor bike trips, Similar to a boat trip but with less water, these trips can be easily acquired and booked with little or no notice. The most famous of these is the easy rider tour, which will take you from Nha Trang to Saigon over a couple of days. I have not done it yet but I think I would prefer to go with Richard. Instead I went to see the white Buddha, some rocks and a pretty temple. My driver was a man called Dahn, he looks like a real biker.
Hon Chong Promontory. This is a sweet little place, and feels like visiting a fairy cove, which as it happens is what you’re doing. The story goes (It’s just a beauty spot without the story – bear with me) that the whole area was a playground for faeries; the little fellers played chess or something and generally wrecked up the place. One day a giant turned up and fell in love with a particularly pretty one. I’m assuming she was also taking a bath at the time as in these stories the heroine usually is. However, it was the giants misfortune to have been drunk at the time and when he tried to approach her he fell over, he put his hand out as he fell and made a big hand print in one of the rocks. This can be seen by visitors.
After a while, the giant and the fairy got together and were happy, this pissed off the gods who thought that a giant had no business interferin’ with fairies. They banished him and his fairy lady was so sad that she lay down and became a mountain. The mountain can also be seen by visitors, it is shaped like a reclining lady, looking into the distance.
Cham Temple, I was not so taken with the temple but both it and the views were worth seeing as they were so pretty.
The White Buddha, This place is apparently run by gangster types. Dahn, who had been showing me around like a boss refused to come in with me, he told me where I should go and waited for me at the exit. He explained that while I could refuse to buy overpriced things from the hawkers, if he said anything to them on my behalf the crooks would find him later and beat him. I had also read that there was a scam in operation there, where some women would pretend to be students and show you around before extorting money from you. I ran into some and just said I did not need a tour so they left me alone. Yayy.