Sunday, 16 July 2017

Reaching the destination after 13 days of traveling: SGN to UIH. Welcome to Quy Nhon !

OUCH.   That's what my body SHOUTS in CAPITAL letters !

I only slept 4 hours and I drank one liter of beer and a bottle of red wine last night.  And I can FEEL it.  

But I'm traveling to the first BEACH of this trip today !

6:20 am

My first cigarette break.   What is that?  Oh, just the morning baguette delivery man.  A huge basket on the back of a motorbike.  That's enough.  That works. 

No time for breakfast.  Time to check-out (she checks my room to see if I used the mini-bar, even though I tell her I didn't ) and head for the bus stop.

7:35 am

There is my 152 bus.  The Semi-Private airport shuttle for 5000 Dong, LOL.
The bus stops somewhere that REALLY does NOT look like a bus stop.  The driver is honking at the woman with the hot/cold coffee stand, who thereupon starts moving frantically.
The bus door opens and currency is exchanged for an ice coffee.  The coffee woman noticed me taking pictures and still gives me the widest grin when the bus pulls away.

Saigon Airport.

I have my boarding pass and while waiting for my plane to board, notice the signfor another flight.  THAT is the southern Vietnamese island so close to Koh Rong in Cambodia !   The waitress in my Viet restaurant in Vancouver told me to go there, LOL
Yes, I do seem to be the tallest person in this bus ;)

This is the THIRD time I've left Sai Gon after a 1 night stay.  And that is OK ;-)

I wake up after half an hour of the flight and I'm hungry.  I think.
Since I haven't had breakfast yet, I order one of the above.   
Let's just say that the picture of the Banh-mi-NOT-great is not quite accurate ;-(
Where the world still makes sense.  A Hamburger is made with .....  HAM of course !

How many layers of clouds can there be?

I thought I was high up in the air and am almost scared by the vicinity of these mountains !

HEY, that is ..... I RECOGNIZE that Bay on the left in the picture above !

That is QUY NHON !

Quy Nhon per se does not have it's own railway station (use Dieu Tri) or airport.  Pho Cat Airport, an old US Base from the 1960s  35 kms from Quy Nhnon, has been modified to serve that purpose.   So we keep flying for a touch longer ....

The lower the plane sinks, the GREENER the landscape becomes


touch-down on an ancient runway

American left-behinds
After the plane comes to a leisurely stop on the HUGE runway of the former US airbase....  
.....I realize with horror that during my lifetime, B52 bombers quite likely took off from RIGHT HERE to burn and bomb this amazing country back to the stone age DURING MY LIFETIME. 

I am tres relieved that they did NOT succeed and had to run back home with their tails between their legs !
The fighter jets below do NOT seem to be in use anymore.  Blankets are covering the fuselages and the guard towers outside the concrete fence haven't been manned in ages.

It's a TINY airport.   There is a tiny luggage carousel and nothing else.  As promised in my internet sources, there is a Vietnam Airlines bus outside the terminal building to deliver passengers to distant Quy Nhon for 50,000 Dong. 

But there are also quite a few people outside holding these signs: 
Is it possible that there is a Neutrino-Physics conference starting here today?
The Vietnamese Airlines bus drops people at the bus depot, about 2 km from my hotel.  NATURALLY, there are scooter drivers offering their services but I feel like walking.  The temperature is a touch cooler and I can feel a breeze from the ocean. In other words: It's PERFECT.

Now what's that nipple on that hill.  Could that be what I think it is?
Here's a little VIDEO impression of the bus ride.   Blogger video quality SUCKS, so click HERE TO SEE IT ON YOUTUBE.

more Cham towers. MUST VISIT !
Christian of Caodaist?  

2000 Dong per pee 
After the hustle-and-bustle of Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Saigon, I'm glad to be back in a dead-quiet (relatively) Vietnamese town.   A town that's about to explode with tourism if it goes according to the plans of the Vietnamese government.
And that contentment shows:
This GIANT memorial for Lord-knows-what wasn't here last time.
Is that Uncle HO?  Does he look a little like Lenin?
I find my hotel instantly even though Google Maps has the address WRONG (wrong by about 1 km, LOL; I submit a correction request)

There is the lobby. There is the reception desk.  But there is NO-ONE here ...

After a minute, the woman tending the foodstuff store right next door walks over into the lobby with a questioning look.  She does not speak English, I don't speak Vietnamese.  I hand her my passport and she hands me the keys to my room.

It continues to be a TYPICAL Viet hotel, just like I'm used to them and have embraced them.

The previous occupant's soap and empty shampoo pouches are still in the soap tray.  The bathtub is kind'of connected to its drain, but if you stand in it, you can see the water flowing across the bathroom floor to the drain in the corner.
The best part is:  There are TWO hot water kettles in the room, but none of them has the base with the cord to plug it in the wall.   

A different young woman is at the reception desk now and she only mutters "tomohow".  Oh NO, TODAY.  The woman who checked me in then looks on the picture of a water-kettle on my cell phone and chases lazy reception woman up to a different room to grab its kettle.   I am presented with Kettle # 3 AND a corded base.   When I want to give her the two kettles WITHOUT cord, she just gives me a strange look and leaves.    LOVE IT, LOL.

The hotel-owner's food store next door doesn't carry white wine, only raspberry wine, I already checked.

Not my pic, not my wine

So I walk down the street and find one of those tiny Vietnamese stores.  The old man in front of the store greets all Westerners the same  "Thank You".  At least the kids these days learn 'hello', LOL.   There doesn't seem to be ANY chance that THIS place has wine, but I try anyway  "ruou vang thrang?"  "ruou vang do?" I try to get my lips to pronounce.   At first she just gives me that blank smile, but then she seems to understand what this Westerner is babbling "Vang Da Lat?" she asks me, to which I start nodding vigorously !!  They have wine and now I have wine !

So I buy 1.5 liter of water, one 0.75 liter bottle of Vietnamese red wine, 4 cups of yogurt, 1 bag of Viet Gummy bears, 1 noodle soup, and a pack of chocolate wafers. The total comes to 113,000 VND.  FOR EVERYTHING.  That's just over CAD$ 6.20. 

Is it any wonder I always VERY MUCH HESITATE to return to Canada?

Now that I have secured provisions, it is time for a beach walk.

Cross the road behind Seagull Hotel and I'm at Barbara's Kiwi Connnection

Gin & Tonic and chocolate ice cream.    What's wrong with that combination?
That's right: Absolutely NOTHING

I'm still surviving on my 4 hours sleep last night, so even the light show right outside my window and the spectacle of complete Viet families cruising the beach promenade on ONE scooter is not enough to lure me out of the room.  

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