Scenes from Nha Trang, Vietnam.
Stories from three days in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
I didn’t even really want to go to Nha Trang, Vietnam. I’d heard it was beautiful, but after spending way too long in Sihanoukville I wasn’t quite in the mood for another party beach town. But I wanted a quick one or two day diversion after touring Dalat and before heading up on a long overnight bus to Hoi An. And so I went.
As I took a walk on the beach, well, the sidewalk near the beach, I immediately regretted that I’d checked in for two nights. The weather was chilly and the waves more ferocious than any I’ve ever seen. They washed up all along the sand, leaving every morsel damp. So hard that signs were posted warning you not to go into the water. So hard that no one was selling boat trips to the islands.
So, because it would take a night bus to Hoi An, I’d be spending three days in a beach town with a basically inaccessible beach.
I drowned my sorrows in a caramel sundae.
Alone at a bar in Nha Trang, Vietnam
I hit the bar that night, making just one promise to myself: I would not, under any circumstance, make out with anyone.
So I ordered up a vodka sprite and sat alone.
The bartender kept asking me the same questions they all ask: “Are you traveling alone?” “Do you have a husband?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Why not?” And then he took me by the arm and sat me at a table of three Dutch travelers. We talked for a while and then some others joined us. One of them was a Danish guy who soon asked if I wanted to play pool.
Luckily he sucked just as much as I did and I managed to win for possibly the first time in my life. While we played, everyone else left.
We had another drink and sat outside until they started putting away the chairs, and then we headed towards the beach bar, getting distracted by the even bigger nighttime waves.
As we stood at the waterfront I knew he was going to try to kiss me. And when he leaned in, I turned away. We stood for a while, watching the waves crash dangerously close and the water trickle to our feet.
Presents and Pizza
After another walk on the beach, watching the too big waves, I decided to give in to the pizza craving I’d been getting way too often. There were two pizza places next to each other and I chose the one that was empty because the prices were 25cents cheaper and the photos just looked better.
As I ate my margherita pizza, a couple of Italian men came in and sat at the table beside me. One of them had an Spanish fan with paintings of locations in Southern France. He fanned himself and fanned me. He handed me a lighter and said, “present.” He handed me the fan and said, “present.”
And then he took my empty Coke glass, and he took out a bottle of vodka and poured some in and topped it off with his can of tonic.
And we clinked glasses and cheered.
And then he said “ciao,” and left with his friend and with his pizzas.
Language Lessons at Lanterns
I ate dinner, twice, at Lanterns, a restaurant down the block from my hostel. It was recommended in my guide book and I just wanted to take things easy, so I went.
The first night, when I went in it was busy with other tourists who had also read about it in their guidebook.
The next night I went earlier and the place was empty. As I waited for my fish a young girl who worked there, presumably the daughter of the owner, came to talk to me. She wanted to practice her English. Her first question after “where are you from?” was “do you have a boyfriend?”
As I was eating, two other girls, two other daughters came up to me with a work book from their English class and were asking me questions and I had a hard time explaining to them sometimes that even though both had come up with different answers they were both correct.
Ladies Night at Red Apple Club in Nha Trang
The bar, Red Apple Club, had a ladies night special. Any girl who came in got a free daiquiri on arrival. According to the flyer the same also applied for any man dressed as a girl.
And so, as I drank my free daiquiri after drinking my free vodka sprite, I replied to Ciaran, “let’s go.” When we got up to the hostel room he took off his pants and I threw him my beach dress, I figured it was structured with elastic and had the most chance of anything I had to fit him without breaking.
Passing stares and smiles and thumbs up from everyone, we returned to the bar.
Where he got his free cocktail.
The next couple of hours were filled with pool and buffalo and small talk and on-special buckets. I think I had two. Maybe. I don’t really remember.
I do remember that I liked the boy who was wearing my dress, if only because of the Irish accent and because I always go for the funny ones and because he was wearing a Superman t-shirt and Superman was my dad’s favorite and so I always associate that with good people.
And so, when he rested his hand on my knee, I let him. And when he remarked that it was “interesting” because he was waiting for me to glare at him to stop, I shrugged.
Keep in mind, I had made no promises to myself that night.
We left the bar, headed to the Sailor’s Club, but on the way there were distracted by a cyclo driver. He, of course, wanted to give us a ride, but instead, somehow Ciaran ended up behind the wheel, drink still in hand, with me in the front seat.
And we drove around, a bit. And then, suddenly, I was laying on the ground. The bike had flipped over. My elbow, bruised. My camera, broken.
The boys argued with the driver and I lamented my camera while others asked if I was OK.
Eventually, I think, they paid the driver maybe the equivalent to a dollar and we were on our way.
Ciaran, who himself had a gash on his leg and a dislocated thumb, kissed my bruise and then kissed me. I think. Maybe.
We did make it to the club where we drank another bucket. Of something. At least part of it. But we left soon after. The two of us, leaving the others because we couldn’t find the others. Taking our drinks but leaving them somewhere along the way.
My Last Day in Nha Trang
I woke up, in a bed that wasn’t mine, not that my bed was mine anyways, several times, to the sound of boys. Boys coming home late at night. Boys waking up for free breakfast. Boys making jokes. Boys asking “why isn’t she naked?”
(For the record, because I didn’t want to wake up naked in a room full of boys, so I was a lady and put my pants back on.)
And the rest of the day will be told in Instagram photos. Taken on my iPod because my camera is broken. Because there, really, isn’t much else left to say.