Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 13: Nha Trang Day 2

Our scheduled motorbike tour to "the" waterfall didn't start until noon so we took the opportunity to sleep as late as possible. Breakfast ended at the ridiculously early hour of 9 a.m. so we went without. We checked out of our room at noon (they were hassling us to get out at quarter to), put our luggage in the holding room and waited for our motorbikes to arrive.

So we waited and waited, a good 45 minutes before the bikes (and drivers for those not comfortable on their own) arrived. There were 9 of us on the trip, split between 6 bikes and 2 local drivers. I have never drove one before, and didn't want to clutch on to the back of a Vietnamese stranger, so I rode on Marv's bike, the rental of which cost $10.

The drive up to the waterfall took about an hour and a half. One of the bikes, thankfully not ours, got a flat tire - twice - so while we waited for them to catch up we stopped at a quaint little fishing village. The boats in the water were very cute but man did that town stink. It was horrendously fishy.

The drive there wasn't too harrowing, as traffic was light on the roads we traveled. We did see a semi truck tipped over in a ditch, though, which freaked me out. I didn't get a picture of it but the driver of that truck hopefully was wearing a seat belt. It was tipped over like a paper cup - scary sight!

It rained briefly at the end of our drive, which was miraculous judging by the ominous dark storm clouds positioned exactly over where we were headed. The weather gods were smiling down upon us so we only had to sport our fancy ponchos (polka dotted, most of them) for a brief part of the journey.

Once we got to the waterfall area we had to ditch our bikes and hike up the rest of the way. It started off easy enough like this:

But quickly devolved into this monstrosity:

We climbed our asses off around those rocks to get to the waterfalls, which turned out to be 3 separate waterfalls or "ho" as they are called in Vietnamese. This entertained me to no end, and will continue to do so forevermore. At least I had a sense of humor when I was huffing and puffing like a 90-year-old smoker.

We arrived at Ho 1 and immediately jumped in to cool off. The water was pretty cold which felt fabulous to our boiling hot selves. I don't have any pictures of us under the actual waterfall (ho) due to lack of a waterproof camera. It was awesome and the closest to nature I could ever hope to get.

We got back to sweating profusely and climbed up to Ho 2. Half of our party got back to swimming but I was finished at that point. We didn't have a towel so I had to do what I could to dry off. I hate wearing clothes while wet, but didn't have a choice.

It started sprinkling a tiny bit, which freaked out our "guides", or local ladies who were following us around, helping us navigate (and of course expect a tip for their services). We decided by their reaction not to travel to Ho 3 so we started back down the mountain towards our motorbikes.

Then the rain totally stopped. Instead of hauling ourselves back up past Ho 2 to get to Ho 3 we just chilled back at Ho 1. This time several of the guys did what we were too chicken to do when we first got there - jump off the rocks 50 feet above into the waterfall pool below. I was relaxing closer to the bottom when this happened, so didn't get to see this, but Marv bravely jumped and thankfully escaped a spinal injury.

It was about 4:30 p.m. when we decided to head back, which means we were hitting rush hour traffic on the way back in. It was much busier and much, much crazier driving on the way back in. The tipped over truck was still sitting in the ditch and it wasn't hard to see how or why that happened. Lanes of traffic aren't really used here, they are more gentle suggestions - that are immediately and blatantly ignored.

Marv being the excellent driver he is got us back to the hotel safely in one piece. We no longer had our hotel room so we had to shower in the pool shower, which felt absolutely amazing after a day of sweating and baking in the sun.

Before we left for dinner our tour guide Amy, who is Thai, was showing us videos of Thai lady boys on YouTube. All of the guys (the straight ones at least) agreed that "she" was the hottest chick they had ever seen. S/he was indeed a fine looking woman!

We went to dinner at a restaurant called Good Morning, Vietnam! which, surprisingly, served Italian food. It was quite expensive but I've found that, for my sanity, I have to eat Western food every few days. There's only so many noodles and rice I can consume without craving a big 'ol plate of western home cookin'. This reminded me I need to see Good Morning, Vietnam again. It's been probably 15 years since I saw it.

We were leaving for our night train at 10:30 p.m. and after dinner we only had a little over an hour to kill before we needed to go to the train station. I thought we'd have lots of time to kill today but we were quite busy/occupied the whole time.

We boarded our second night train of the trip and were saddened to see this train was roughly 5000% crappier than the last one. Everybody was beat from the day of Ho'ing so we were happy to crash as soon as the train departed at 11:00 p.m.

Sadly, there were no beer tower windows on this train.

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