Sunday, 23 July 2017

Scooting into pure Hello-Land


Thank you Dutch guy!  i didn't know these
existed with a cord ;-)
After breakfast, paying for my room, leaving a deposit for 5 nights here in the future, packing, and saying good bye to the Dutch guy (names weren't necessary, but he was great company), I get my passport and leave.

The sun is BURNING already at 9 am.  So I'm wearing a long sleeved shirt buttoned to the max as well as LONG Cambodian pants.  I don't want to get burned AGAIN !

I can never NOT stop here to take a picture ;-)

When I approach Life's a Beach, it almost feels like coming home.  But neither Bao nor Steve are there, so I have to make do with a glass of white wine (haven't had one since yesterday) and more of those rice pancakes.

Steve shows up, sees me, but avoids me.

LOL. No hard feelings, but I don't feel bad about doing the free cancel of my booking here in exchange for the booking in paradise ;-)

Bai Xep Village:  Wide enough for 2 scooters to squeeze by each other.


Time to leave Bai Xep.  I still have to buy a train ticket !

A short stop at Kiwi Connection for some ice cream.

Fill up the scooter tank.  I do my usual hand-at-full-tank-level gesture that they used before, but today the young Viet guy grins at me and says "Full?". LOL.  OMG they learn quickly ;-)

How to find a needle in a haystack? Take a pic of your ride!
Now I dare scoot into the BIG C, the local mall. I've done this before in Da Nang, so by now I know how the underground scooter parking garages work. In contrast to Da Nang, the one here is FREE !
Need Nivea. NO, NOT Nivea with Whitening, which is all they seem to sell in Vietnam.  But once in a while you find the non-whitening stuff.

The AGGRAVATING part:  The taped a FREE small can of REAL Nivea creme to each of the whitening Nivea bottles, LOL.

But in the end I find some Nivea moisturizing lotion (NON whitening) which will do.  I also find wine and a cheap corkscrew.

Time to move on!

Train station:  Google Maps proves USELESS AGAIN.  I finally find Ga Quy Nhon with the help of a smiling guy who just walks up when I study my cell phone map.  He shows me the RIGHT way to get there AND points at my front tire while making a sssshhhhh noise.   Ah. Much too low air pressure would explain why this friggin beast jumps almost out of control every time I cross a bit on uneven pavement.

Buying a train ticket:ONLY a SEAT left for a 12 hour ride.  OUCH!  I take it just in case.

Oh, who cares, I'll just get off somewhere or wait for a later train.

Time to move. It's still 20 kms to my hostel.

Ahh!  I'm back in Water-Buffalo country ;-)
So I follow Google Map's directions and there is that brand-new road going up the hill I'm supposed to take.  It's locked with metal gates !  I backtrack a few times, but NO, there is NO way I can follow the map's directions.

So I end up in one of those little places right at the beach on one of those tiny red plastic stools, dig out the places phone number and call them (How fortuitous that my phone works here !). The map is WRONG, and the owner walks up to me 3 minutes later from the beach.

4 pm. I've arrived at Nhon Hai Beach Hostel.  I have a 'twin room' (3 beds and 1 mattress, LOL ) with ocean view, private bathroom, hot water, and air-conditioning AND a fan.

The owner is Viet (FINALLY), speaks excellent English, and when there is nothing to do vegges out in a hammock.  GREAT atmosphere.  The guests seem to be mostly Asian (possibly Viet), except one French family of 4 who tents in 3 tens right at the beach.

Cost of this room?

US$ 15.

A French family of 4 tenting right in front of the hostel.

I'm off to look for one of those little stores that exist EVERYWHERE to buy some water.  OMG. There are NO stores.  
WTF?  Is this a special breed ? ....

 This is a REAL fishing village, the beach is LITTERED with fresh fish heads, and the whole town is in the water or hanging out at the beach.
.... or do they start plucking them when they're still walking??
The number of Hellos I get from kids breaks all records.  Even old men in their 70s sitting on crates chime into the chorus "Hello!".  I dutifully reply "Hello !  Xin Chao" which gets a smile from everyone.  

One young guy starts accompanying me.  

"Where are you from?" (that's the phrase they learn right after Hello).  
When he says "I from Vietnam" and points at the ground, to my great embarassment I can't think of anything better to mumble than "I thought as much" LMAO.
LUCKY to be from here !

He starts showing me off to all the other residents of this village who are in earshot.  He points at me and shouts CANADA.  

Everyone nods and smiles in an astonishingly GENUINE way.   Where the hell have I ended up???  
CANADA ! (you can't see his arm pointing at me)

Well actually, some don't look all that interested so he says "They NO ENGLISH !"

"How old are you?  I 26". 
NO, 52.

A blank look.  Maybe they only teach the numbers to 30 in school here?
So I say:  26 + 26 ! Double 26!  
YES, I did run into the Vietnamese adding problem before, LOL.

When I show him with my fingers (BOTH hands' fingers 5 times + 2) he makes THAT face that I've seen before.
 Yes, I know, I'm as old as as the Vietnam war, LOL, think Black-and-White photographs, LOL.

70% of Vietnamese are below 30 and no one seems to remember the war.  I might as well have said that I was born in 1812 !

I decide to turn around because there NO stores in sight.  This time I decide to walk back along the beach.   The number of Hellos from children increases dramatically.

When I take a picture of the UNICORN flotation device, the guy in his mid to late 20s who occupies in shouts HELLO.  
The type of floating device says a lot about a country !!!!

I NEED to get back to the hostel.   I feel like an Eskimo walking through Persia during the time of Xerxes.

The first thing I ask the owner is  "HOW LONG have you had this hostel open for?"

6 months.

I actually start laughing.

THAT explains it ALL, LOL  
Now I know why the French never seem to deviate from the straight line connecting the hostel terrace to their tents.

Then there is some simple dinner (limited amounts of seafood on noodles) with a bottle of the  local Quy Nhon Bia.  10,000 Dong (less than 50 cents for a great tasting beer; the West doesn't know what is really happening to them). 

6.38 pm
it's pitch dark all along the beach except the occasional streetlight.  The entire town seems to have gone to bed.  

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