Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nah Trang to Hanoi

Nah Trang- This was a pretty great place. Our hostel was a proper backpacker house complete with many accents and free buckets with dinner. We woke up early the next morning to hop on board the Funky Monkey party boat. I actually got really emotional as we were heading down the river after leaving the dock. They were blasting CCR and it made me think of being home singing along with my friends and it made me really think about the men who were here before me. Thinking that music might have for a brief moment transported them from the fear and destruction that surrounded them to thoughts of having a beer with their friends and family. Obviously my Vietnam experience isn’t comparable at all but just the thought of music from an era that wasn’t mine got to become a strong part of my Vietnam memories. We got to jump off the boat and have drinks from a floating “bar” and by bar of course I mean a guy poured luke warm jungle juice into small plastic cups. We also got to go snorkelling again which was great. The water was crystal clear and cool enough to feel refreshing. The fish were beautiful too.
The Funky Monkey Band

The Guitar player for the Funky Monkey Band

The 4 of us at the "floating bar"
 After our party boat experience we went back to the hostel and then out on the town to meet up with some of the folks we had met on the trip. We went to a bar called Red Sun which turned out to be a total Bridget Jones experience. We sat down and immediately a Connect 4 game was set in front of us. We ordered our drinks which were buy one get one Mojito free (could I please just have another beer?). We also were quickly drawn into a hair party. The bar staff was quick to create up do’s for Liz, Laura and me all whilst hustling other customers into the bar. After a couple of beverages we were helping them by yelling at the foreigners as the passed by. We quickly switched our game of choice to Jenga and I’ll tell ya Vietnamese women know how to play some Jenga. I could have been shaking that table and somehow it would have remained steady for them. Liz and Laura weren’t honing the skills of the barmaids and had to both do a chicken impression/dance on the street in front of the bar. 

Liz getting ready for the prom with that do

Me and Liz with our lovely "hairdresser"
The next day we went to eat lunch at the home of one of the workers from the bar (we found out later that he did NOT in fact work for the bar and just spent time there getting foreigners to pay for a lunch at his house). He made us a huge meal of traditional Vietnamese food and then took us to a local salon for mani/pedis. The food was great I will say everything was delicious. That being said.... it was one of the most ridonkulous experiences of my life. Dang, our host, made Jack from Will and Grace look butch. He had a lovely silver glitter mani/pedi and could belt out any Brittney Spears song pretty much on command. He “fell in love” with our friend Brittny and made the entire day uncomfortable with his constant worship of her. He serenaded her about every 5 minutes and let me say his singing really leaves something to be desired. At his house we met his family which consisted of his old aunt, sister, mother and the only normal thing in that home his younger brother. Upon walking into his home we met, well saw his sister and even from the back she looked like a character from Mortal Kombat. I wish I had a photo because I don’t think I can even describe her but I’ll try. Maybe she weighed 110 lbs but only because the sheer amount of sequined bejangle on her bright red spandex dress gave her some extra poundage. She had long hair that was in a high pony tail and nails that could have been featured in some low budget version of National Geographic. Oh yes fingernails AND toe nails my friend. BLECH. She never spoke to us or greeted us in any way she just played Zuma and hot boxed smokes while we sat on the floor and had a feast. Dang’s brother was very sweet and it was clear that he recognized the circus that they lived in from his ladyboy brother pretending to want a girl to the “healing animal” on top of the fridge which looked like a road kill carcass taped to 4 sticks. He has taught himself to play piano and violin and he is very good at both. He kept rolling his eyes at Dang and clearly wanted to do anything but play for us. Dang’s sister finally sprang to life when it was time to go to the salon. She got her hair did, her nails finger and toes panted with sparkles all the while smoking away. Everything including taxis, lunch and salon time was of course on us. We should have known going into the day that there would be a catch but regardless we did have a good meal and a good laugh at Brittny’s “love” Dang. 
That evening we got on a night bus and headed to Hoi An. I got in a verbal dispute with a bus worker because he wanted us to sit in the back of the bus. This was a sleeper bus so the seats laid back not enough to be horizontal but enough to get a sweet lower back cramp. So picture the bus from an aerial view. Three seats across with tiny aisles in between. When I say tiny I mean I was sliding sideways and having a hard time making it through. There were seats at floor level and then seats on top of them bunk bed style. At the back of the bus there were three seats right next to each other elbows to assholes style. This of course is where the angry Vietnamese bus worker wanted Brittny, Liz and me to sit. Oh hells no! It was like a small coffin with no air or windows and there was no way I could spend 12+ hours there. I asked if I could move and he wigged out. We ended up yelling at each other and he got physical with me which started a foreigner mutiny on the bus (thanks for the solidarity all). He actually got so mad at me that he threatened to throw all of the foreigners off of the bus if I wouldn’t move. One of the British guys told me just to sit down and let the angry man pick me up if he wanted me off the bus. So he eventually backed down and we were on our way. After about 20 minutes we stopped and picked up oh I don’t know about 30 Vietnamese people who packed onto every nook and cranny that the bus had to offer including all of the aisle space. It felt like a death trap on wheels. At around midnight we pulled into a dark parking area and from what I saw did some sort of illegal arms deal. There were about 20 wooden crates loaded onto the bottom of the bus and then one of the bus workers handed a woman a giant wad of cash and we were on our way. Thanks for being sketchtastic night bus! Oy Veh... We finally made it to Hoi An and we were so dead tired that we didn’t even get to explore. We lounged by the pool and relaxed for 2 days and then we were on a bus and headed to Hue.

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