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Monday, November 21, 2011

Some R&R in Nha Trang

After a craptastic month helathwise, my amazing hubby sent me off to Nha Trang for a little recovery R&R.  No kids!  Now don't get me wrong.  I adore my kids...but....no kids for 2 nights is just what the Doctor ordered.  He recently won a nights accommodation at the Sheraton so a friend and I added one night and we were off.  With internal flights at just $100 or so each, it was a relatively cheap way to get away from it all.
The Sheraton was fine.  It is located on the beach road with the rooms fairly standard.  A little further North than what I would call the centre of town but still well within walking distance.  I'm not usually one for the big chain hotels but when it's free....i'll manage.
The view from the balcony was quite spectacular.  Unfortunately the balcony itself was quite tiny with no outdoor furniture.  There are 2 enormous hotels going up pretty much next door and there was a bit of construction noise.
The beach virtually a stones throw  away.

Although the Sheraton has its own chairs on the beach we decided on recommendation from fellow blogger Owee to spend the day at the Louisiane Brewhouse which is right on the beach but also has a pool beachside.

It is 20,000VND (about a dollar) to hire a towel and 35,000VND to hire a beach chair for the day.  This is the view from our chairs.

The food was a fabulous selection of western and Vietnamese food as well as a sushi bar.  Prices were very reasonable.

Coming from Australia we are very spoilt when it comes to beaches.  Nha Trang seems quite clean but be warned, the waves looked pretty powerful.  If I had the kids I probably would recommend the pool unless they were very strong swimmers.

Did I mention it was a brewhouse?


One of the things I really like about Nha Trang is the seafood.  The street, or should I say beach, hawkers trail though the sand offering their wares.  They can be quite persistent but Louisane have security that keep an eye on things.

From memory I believe there is about 7km's of beach in this particular stretch.  Plenty of room for all.
A vietnamese beach would not be complete without some beach football.

Very serious business this football.  Loving the improvisation for the goals.  It's almost Australian!

All too much.  Maybe time to cool off in the ocean.



Vietnams new travel slogan.  "Visit Vietnam...it's out of this world!"



OK, now we're talking.

I was actually on the way back to the hotel when I saw this catch so we decided to wait until the next day and get some fresher stuff.


As the sun goes down I can't think of a better place to do your homework.


There is always time for a little retail therapy.  The shopping in Nha Trang is secondary and there is nothing there that is really mind blowing.  A lot of the usual stuff you get in Saigon.  There are however, as expected, an amazing array of swimming costumes.  They also appear to copy your favourite on request.


Just loved this old sewing machine.


Next day back to Louisane...did I mention it is a brewhouse?

Just before midday this group arrive with the catch of the day.  The hawkers are not allowed past a certain point on the beach near the restaurant so they set up shop closer to the water.
The main feature is the ubiquitous weathered lady carrying a yoke with 2 heavy buckets.  One side has a basket with the seafood in it and the other has a tray of hot coals and a pot to cook the seafood in.



After much consideration we decided on the scallops.  This lot cost us about $5


...and there was a lot of consideration.














So the coals were flared up for us and the scallops prepared.  I have no idea of what was in the sauce they produced to coat them in but it was amazing.  There was plenty of garlic though!


If anyone knows how to cook seafood it is this lot.

As your catch is cooking they produce blue tarps and secure them in the corners with sand.  Instant beach picnic.




Yes, it tasted as good as it looked


Well you can't have seafood on the beach without a beer now can you!




Ok, so initially we thought this lady was just plain nuts.  I was standing there and all of a sudden got a big slap on the butt.  Natasha is killing herself laughing.  Then I get another.  I turn around to see this little old lady.
She proceeds to rub our shoulders while asking if we want to buy smokes or pringles from her basket.  When we said no she makes the universal signal for "I'm going to slash your throat!"

Well it just goes to show you, never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, never call an old lady crazy until you get to know her.  Turns our her name is Viet and she is 63 years old.  She has not a tooth in her head (which was the cause of much ribbing by her friends) yet has the most infectious smile I have ever had the joy of receiving.

They say to understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes.  I can only imagine the path these feet have trodden over the last 63 years.

Viet was truly a delight.  For a while we kept waiting for the other shoe to fall.  The "OK, you took my photo now give me money" line.  I feel bad even thinking that now.  She was just a super friendly lady who was enjoying the afternoon.  As it turns out, we paid $5 from a passing lady for the worlds biggest fruit salad.  A whole pineapple, dragon fruit, bananas, mangoes, lychees etc. When we realised how much there was we told her we did not want that much.  She told us bad luck, she had cut it now.  We were a bit annoyed but learnt a valuable lesson.  If God gives you lemons, or in this case, fruit...make lemonade or again, in this case, a fruit platter!  We decided to share the fruit with all of our new found Vietnamese beach dwelling friends and the outcome was hilarious.  The young lady boy kept picking on Viet because she had no teeth and she starts piffing pineapple at him.  The bracelet girl soon joins in and before you know it there was a food fight. We are all just killing ourselves laughing while everyone on the beach was looking at us and wondering what the hell was going on.  Either that or wondering what was in the sauce that was in the scallops. 

The young girl who made the bracelets had quite good English.  We shopped for the kids (20,000VND or about $1 per bracelet) while she adjusted them for little 4 year old wrists before our eyes.





All this food flying around made us hungry again so we decided to get some prawns.








Being lazy like we are we asked if she would not mind peeling them for us.  Nothing is too much trouble.

Ummmm.......yum!

His mum, or at least we think it was his mum, kept telling us he was a lady boy (she got a piece of pineapple to her head for her trouble).  He did not seem to mind but we were concerned that he had hairy legs.  So with a belly full of seafood and beer it was time to say goodbye to our new friends.  Big smiles all round and wishes of good luck.

As I wandered back toward my deck chair I was rugby tackled from behind.  It was Viet who just wanted to give us a big hug.  This beautiful lady really did steal our hearts.  I would have to say that this was one of the most "real" experiences I have had since moving here to live.  No one wanted anything from anyone except a bit of a laugh over some great food.  Sometimes we spend so much time with our defences up (quite often rightly so) but every now and again an opportunity arises and you take it.  It's amazing what, or even who, you find.


So we sadly headed back to the Sheraton where we were due to check out at 1400.  Our flight was not until 2130 so we asked if we could hang around the pool until dinner.



Was a bit overcast by now but it was a gorgeous pool area.



...with an amazing infinity pool.





So we hung out and read and relaxed until it was time to go and have dinner and head to the airport.  We were only away 2 nights but to me it felt like a real holiday.  I really enjoyed this short break to Nha Trang.  It was lovely to do absolutely nothing but come home feeling refreshed and ready to hit the madness that is Saigon.

8 comments:

  1. loved your holiday post Dan, felt like I was there......I wish ....:-)

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  2. I totally love this place and have to visit again this coming December for holiday season with my family.

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  3. Looklike lovely weather @ Nha Trang. I would go back to visit, def a place to come back for. Don't see any pix of your kids.. hmm and how was the accommodation?

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  4. No kids this time so totally relaxing time away! I think we were pretty lucky with the weather considering it was the off season. The Sheraton was ok. Pretty much your normal big chain hotel. The buffet breakfast was just so so. I think for the amount of money they charge there are better options out there though. Depends what you like really. Personally I think one of the smaller hotels even with out a pool would be better then just use Louisane like we did.

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  5. I really miss my home town. Thanks for sharing the great pics of Nha Trang and hope you can return with the kids and hubby soon.

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  6. I am loving your blog Dani - this was a special post! Coming to Saigon for third time in Dec and you are giving me so much advice on where, and what and how much... Thanks

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  7. So glad you are enjoying the blog guys. Nha Trang was amazing...no wonder you miss it. Roo, the weather is starting to some good finally. Saigon will be buzzing this December. If you end up in Nha Trang give Viet a big hug from me!

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