Sunday, January 29

Nha Trang - Temples and Locals and Wolf, Oh my!

Yes, believe it or not I did go on the trip too... It's just that Jessi has had more time to write about it than I have. But as she keeps reminding me, "We gotta finish this so we can start writing about the present again."

So where were we? Oh, right Nha Trang.

So Monkey Island sucked. But that was just one part of our day tour. There was plenty more in store for us. If you recall, our tour also included a temple and a waterfall.

The temple was awesome. I don't think it was a tourist site - it seemed like it was an actual active hilltop temple. It was really nice to momentarily be in a local setting, seeing local life. It was one of my favorite spots in Vietnam.

The temple. I love the intricate designs.

A Vietnamese Bhudda in front of the temple. He had a view of a valley full of rice paddies.

View from the Buddha (above pic).

These were some local kids who live and worship at the temple.

This is the Bhudda inside the temple. We thought it was funny that it was outlined in flourescent lights. Then we realized that it was just intended to make the Bhudda look more glorious. Kind of like stained glass.

The temple was especially nice because we got to step quietly away from the only other guy on our tour - a Finnish man named Wolf. This guy was just about the worst tour mate for us. We are generally wide-eyed travelers who like to see and experience new things. Wolf, on the other hand, likes to spend his time talking about how many snowmobiles he owns back in Finland. When he's not doing that, he likes to talk about how many houses he owns back in Finland. Occasionally, when he stops talking about Finland, he likes to talk about how many times he's been to Vietnam. And no, he never completely stops talking.

The next stop was a waterfall near the city. This one Jessi and I were particulary excited about, because we wanted to see a little untouched nature to balance out all of the city we had been seeing. We were driving up to the trailhead when a local called out "You can't keep driving, it's washed out." But we didn't want the rain to ruin another piece of our vacation. So we asked the guide if we could make it by walking. We were told it would be a 2k walk down a muddy road. No problem, we think, it'll be worth it to see some Vietnamese countryside and a nice waterfall. So we all set out walking; Jessi and I, and our guide and Wolf. Along the way we saw some great stuff. Local farms, local people... It was a nice walk.

Farmhouse on the side of road. Gorgeous countryside.

Vietnamese woman carrying goods on the road to the waterfall.

Two friendly Vietnamese women with no ulterior motives. None at all.

The local ladies in the picture above were really nice to us. They helped Jessi out through some slippery parts of the walk, they chit chatted, smiled, and laughed. Boy, we were really impressed with their English too! How did two villagers learn English so well? Well, turns out a lot of tourists come through there. They all speak English, and if you wanna hawk sodas to tourists, ya gotta speak English. That's right. After being soooo nice to us on the walk to the falls, they spent the whole walk back telling us "you HAVE to buy sodas, since we helped you out." Ah, Vietnam.

Anyway, back to the waterfall. Actually, through all of this, we never got to see the waterfall. We walked 2k on the dirt road, listening to Wolf bitch and moan about how stupid it was, and how the car should have been able to make it, and how come he had to walk so far, and why had the locals lied to us about the road being washed out (did you see the pictures above? he must not have), before we finally arrived at the trailhead. The guy who owns the waterfall (so much for untouched nature) refused to let us see it because it had been washed out by the rain. We tried bargaining with him, but eventually realized it wasn't going to happen... and honestly, it probably wouldn't have been all that nice. Look how muddy the river was!

Is there water in there too, or just dirt?

It looked like it was glowing brown...

So we left, a little disappointed that we didn't see the waterfall, but satisfied that at least we'd had an adventure. Wolf, on the other hand, was just plain unhappy. He hadn't wanted to walk to the waterfall, and he sure as hell wasn't going to walk back. So he handed his bag to our tour guide, hopped on the back of a passing scooter, and was carted all the way back to the car. Rural Vietnam was a little too much for him. He was much happier and felt "closer to nature" (a direct quote) on Monkey Island. To each his own.



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