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Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking the train down to Nha Trang

I unabashedly took the liberty to lie down flat on the empty 3 seats. Very unlady-like but at least i wake up fresh and relaxed. I always buy 8 Days before departure because a) its cheap b) its a rather entertaining read c) its thin and light d) i can throw away after reading, won't heart pain!

but oh, how i resisted grabbing the Archie comics though. Why ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE yet some content is repeated!!
I pointed at the card and asked the Tiger stewardess if i understood correctly (that it says NO SEX TONITE). Initially, she took a glance and said "oh, they're asking for your sex. Male or Female." I was like "DUH! Do i look stupid?" I asked her to look closer, then she smiled, apologised and gave me a new blank one. I swear someone was trying to pick me up with the arrival card!
It's the first time i travelled with ONLY a backpack. I relieved my school days again, and it wasn't cumbersome pulling a trolley. Did the whole usual routine of massage + dinner after touch down. Then i hopped on a dirty dingy old train travelling South!
It was my first time in a train and it was an experience! Narrow corridors, pretty cold, old with cracked windscreens with bullet holes (or so i'd like to think)!
We got the sleeper cabins which is about 40SGD two way for a 6 hour ride. The train leaves and arrives punctually. I slept like a baby on the train, despite boarding prepared with ear plugs and blind folds. Didn't need them. Bring a shawl to lay on the bed in case you have a thing about cleanliness. In general, i didn't see any cockroaches, but imagine the millions who've slept on this dingy bed. The sleeper cabins are considered first class, the economy class are rows and rows of cramped chairs. I would have taken a picture of the inventive ways the passengers slept,but i thought it would be rude.
 The brochures of Vinpearl were enticing and beautiful.
I was excited, but then i wondered how they maintained all the amusement rides when visitors only pay $20 for an all play ticket.Are the rides safe? I am quite a worry wart.
Arriving on the island, it was deserted (which is good, no queues!).It reminds me of Genting, a very very old amusement park. Except Genting has more thrilling rides but Vinpearl has a water park! There're in total 14 slides, one wave pool and one lazy river (complete with 'scary' tunnel, which has lame styrofoam statues but it still spooked me out a little because it looked like it could house REAL bats!)

My adrenaline tolerance is rather high because of all the extreme stuff i've done, so out of the 14 slides, only 1 really shrunked my balls (if i have them).

It looks harmless, but the moment you let go, it's a SHARP DROP. I saw girls who climbed all 5 storeys on hard metal steps, only to make it back down again without taking the leap.
Do eat before you go because the food there is crap. All around the island, its the SAME tasteless fast food around. They do have restaurants, but i never did see them. The cafes only serve Vietnamese deserts which you should try (starchy and sweet).
They have an indoor park which is AWESOME because you get to play EVERYTHING for free. Except they're all  video games. Old school ones, i don't remember Batman ever looking like that. Must be either VERY old school, or VERY fake. Like a little kid, i was overwhelmed with UNLIMITED credits on all the video games, but you get bored after awhile when you can simply hit the Continue button countless times. Where is the challenge?!?

There is a private beach as well, but it was cloudy so it wasn't quite inviting. The island is pretty big, so we strolled around and discovered this giant mermaid. A sign says EROTIC SHOW but nothing seemed to be going on. I was disappointed.

Nha Trang seem to love hosting Miss Earth. Vinpearl was the host for Miss Earth 2009, Diamond Resort also in Nha Trang also hosted couple of years. Can't imagine the pictures i see on the web to be the place i visited. I did see the trees they planted in 2008 in Vinpearl though (Singapore was missing!). It's a little amusing, because the trees they planted actually covered up these insect statues that were obviously there before. I guess Vinpearl never expected Miss Earth to come plant trees!
They also have an aquarium and it was quite an eye opener seeing fishes i've never seen before, though they looked sick. The most interesting were the catfish embryos. They have some rides in the land park, but the girl sitting opposite me on the Viking ship seriously looked like she was going to puke anytime. Vinpearl is not a must-do for Nha Trang, but then again there isn't alot to do in Nha Trang. So take a day trip, you might still be pleasantly surprised.

Nha Trang is a bustling town (not as busy as Saigon) by the sea. They have many good cheap Italian restaurants around. The 5-star ones are undeniably The Sailing Club and Louisana. Plenty of tourists there.
Louisana brews their own beer, and nothing beats a refreshing ice cold beer with wind swept hair.
Diving is cheap in Nha Trang. The cheapest i've done so far in Asia. Costing USD 40 for 2 boat dives, Scuba Dive provides lunch as well as free flow of cake and fruits during the trip. That helps when you set off at 8am.
The water is warm, the visibility is poor at this time but i liked it! I got to see alot more coral fishes than anywhere else.
We chased a squid.
We found Nemo who is very curious and played with the human hand!
I felt bad picking up the sea cucumber the instructor handed me. I was afraid i am hurting it! But i think with my gloves, the creature probably feels nothing. No human oil can reach its glands.
Eating in Vietnam is always a challenge! When you read local menus that don't quite make sense. Swimming bladder and shark's finger soup?
Sucking calfs too.
If only i had a GPS smart phone (something that is encashed so no expensive roaming charges), we would be able to reach our destination in 20 mins, instead of 2 hours. Relying on an inaccurate local map, we set off in search of the heard-about most beautiful Cam Rahn beach.

It was a disappointment, but at least we found it! The journey there was romantic and somewhat scenic.
How blessed we are to be able to soar to the skies. Caught this beautiful moment, and marvel at Creation.


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