20th December – Nha Trang

Last day at what has been my favourite hostel of the trip.  Really going to miss Mojzo Inn and its staff.  Not to mention the breakfasts they offer.  The pancakes here are unbelievable, and the view from the restaurant balcony fantastic.

My roommates are all heading to Dalat, a place I just couldn’t find the time to visit, so gave the first 2 early goers a sad farewell, then said goodbye to the rest of them just before 11.  Not so sad this time, as we’ll all be staying in the same hostel for the last few days.

(Still can’t get a hold of Budget Hostel, and if I hadn’t already been having second thoughts, this lack of communication would have me looking elsewhere anyway).

I hit nearly everywhere of interest yesterday, and I still want to watch my cash, so decide I’m going to enjoy the beach one more time.  A decision made when I spot a book I’m interested in on the loan shelf, so grab it, a bottle of water and a pair of sunglasses and hit the beach.  Don’t want to get my travel towel covered in sand (literally just got it washed), so fork out the sun lounger fee and pick a spot in the shade.

I’m spend about 3 hours just lounging and reading my book (turns out to be pretty mediocre), and then drag the lounger into the sun and slap my iPod on to enjoy the last of the sun.  Its pretty cool, but the sun’s still warm for a good hour before it reaches jacket reaching weather and I head back to the hostel to get changed and return my book.  Then its off to go find something to eat.

Have noticed something about the South, its marginally more expensive to eat here than the North.  Hadn’t noticed before since I was eating in restaurants I wouldn’t have normally gone near, but I spent a good 40 minutes walking around looking for something cheap.  In Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An, finding a meal for 40,000 was a cakewalk, here?  Cheapest thing I can find is 60,000 at least.

I do eventually find somewhere that does a bowl of pho for 55,000, and accept it.  Not sure if the prices are high because Nha Trang is a very resort-like town or if its just the case in the South.  Also have some crispy spring rolls since those things are nirvana.

When I get back and get a good luck at a mirror though, I’m in for a surprise.  Might have been cold and out of the shade for less than an hour but the sun was clearly brighter today than it had been yesterday,  My face and shoulders are burned – not too badly, but enough that my bag straps are going to cause me problems tomorrow.  Will definitely need to buy some suncream, stat.

My train is unbearably early this time.  Unlike the first 2 that were at a reasonable late hour and getting in at a reasonable morning/afternoon time, this one leaves at 7 and gets me in at 4:15.  WHY I picked such an early train I no longer remember, can only assume there were no later ones.  So at 17:50, I give the hotel staff a hug and goodbye (along with a spin, seriously the staff weight 45kg max, they’re tiny) and hop in the taxi.

The driver has the meter running at the hostel’s request, which is a good thing, because when I get out, the guy doesn’t ask me to pay right away, instead bolts out the car and gets my bag out of the boot.  The reason for this becomes obvious when he asks me to pay – he doesn’t want me to see the meter.  He wants 100,000 for the trip, which isn’t bloody likely.  I just walk to the front of the car and point to the meter that’s still flashing at 52,000, and give him that.  He’s not happy about it, but there’s not much he can do when the right price is right there.

My next problem is my ticket.  Unlike the previous trains, I’m going on whats known as a Golden Train, and instead of a ticket, Vietnam Impressive sent me a ticket voucher that I have to exchange at the ticket office.  Unfortunately, the voucher’s English isn’t stellar, and is clearly trying to direct me somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t figure out where.  I end up in the normal ticket office and head to the information booth for help.  The woman takes one look at the ticket and makes a phone call – five minutes later a very small woman literally takes me by the hand and herds me over to the far left of the station, to a small door with a Viet only sign surrounded by motorbikes (finally understand what it meant by ‘parking space’ on the directions).  There I get my ticket, and the woman takes my hand again and takes me to a waiting area.  When the train is finally ready for boarding?  She grabs my bag and scurries off in front with me following, and she lugs it all the way to my berth.
imageConsidering the Golden Train was slightly more expensive than the normal trains, I had expected it to be nicer than the norm.  In some ways it was – there was complimentary baked goods and water, and the room had a TV.  However, the mattress was paper thin, and even the Vietnamese passenger in our car wouldn’t touch the baked goods (the woman at the station had warned me “train food not good”).

That said though, by this point I’m an expert at sleeping on trains, so getting comfortable isn’t actually that hard.  Might not be the comfiest bed but manage to nod off (though wake up repeatedly – one part shaking train, other part terrified I wont be up and wake for my 4:15 stop!).

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About Batale

I am an aspiring writer - though since I haven't written anything original in about 2 years, so calling me a writer is like calling a man who makes dinner every night a 5 star chef. I started this blog to force me to write. From the 1st January 2013, I intend to update this blog every day. If nothing interesting happens, I'll write about something that does interest me, whether that is a movie, a book, something I've heard about, or even some of my stories growing up.
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