Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Long Beach - Cam Ranh

20 miles north of Nha Trang city is Long Beach located within Cam Ranh city's proximity and not too far way from the new airport. The beach is clear and its water's temperature is quiet warm comparing to that of the surrounding area. But what impresses me the most is the scenic drive to the beach. The drive somewhat reminds me of highway 1 running alongside the pacific ocean, rearing the west side of the state of California. Unlike highway 1, this drive is much shorter but spectacular. Like most area of Vietnam, mountains always embrace the road in one side and the pacific ocean does the same with the other side. This creates a scenic view which I call "hidden dragon and crouching tiger" as in feng-shui terminology.

Driving 20 miles on a motocycle is a pain in the ass. No, I am serious literally. It is painful sitting on a bike for 40 minutes.

When we arrived at Long beach there are lots of bars and restaurants settle along the waterline. And bbq seafood is the specialty here.

I think I should take off my shirt and shoes and sing the "No shoes no shirts no problem" of Kenny Chesney

We bought about 5 pounds of squid and had a BBQ session right away. Too bad they don't have Corona here.

On the way back home we stop by a market and buy some fruit. I think the best fruit in Nha Trang is Thanh Long stands for Green Dragon. Look at the photo below to see why it's coined that name. It is a sweet, watery and cactus-based fruit. It's said that this fruit could bring lots of positive health effect.

Bargaining some Thanh Long at a market

Monday, July 17, 2006

Once Upon a Time in Nha Trang

Mom just pulled out some of my infant photos taken a very long time ago. Frankly, this is the first time I actually sit down to look at those. And I find that my infant photos are quite cute and innocent.

3-month-old king

6 months old

Kinder graden age

Same place Now and then

PS: Sorry Goyza I fall in love with the lovely Nana already.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nha Trang Boat Trip

I think Nha Trang has the boat trip deal in the world! Read on to find out more.
I called the tour center to have them come and pick me up at 8:30. After circling around to pick up more customers, we finally set out to the harbor at 9:00.
The tour composes of taking us going to 4 main islands circumcising Nha Trang city: Mun (Black) Island has it name for its distinct grayish rock, Mot (One) Island, Tam (Morph) Island and Mieu Island.

Set out to sea!

Mun Island with its black rocks.

The first stop is Mun Island where we swim for about an hour in the middle of the ocean. The boat was actually anchored 40 feet off shore to let us jump out into the water. The weather at this time of the year is perfect: clear sky, clean and warm water. So clean that we can see colorful coral reefs 15 feet below.

Then we stop by Mot Island. This is where all the fun starts. We have lunch on the boat, cooked freshly on a different boat going alongside.
After lunch is the happy hour also celebrated on boat with a amateur live band! People dance like crazy too. It's a big mistake if I don't mention the on-the-water floating bar serving wine and pineapple.


On boat disco floor!

Floating bar

Map of the whole trip

I would strongly recommend the trip for everyone coming to Nha Trang or Vietnam because of its quality yet bargain price. The whole trip costs about $7 including car pick up at your hotel, food, snorkeling equipment.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nha Trang - Sightseeing

Located 2 miles north of Nhatrang city is a place call Hon Chong. In Vietnamese it means Stone Island or something similar because Hon Chong is a small island made out of stones stacking on each other.
Road leads to Hon Chong. Pacific ocean is on the left!

On the way to the top of the island, I find this art museum. It wasn't here the last time I came to Nha Trang.

Hon Chong from the top of the hill.

Superman returns!!!

This is Nha Trang looked from Hon Chong.

Great place to go fishing.

I am sitting in a imprinted palm . Legend says that a giant fell and he leaned on the rock with his palm. The incident creates such imprint !
Student flower. It is the symbol of Vietnamese student. And it only blossoms during the summer.

There is a antique temple on that distant island which I would visit sometime next week.

Here is another legend: the couple were waiting for their sons coming back from the war. They waited for so long that their bodies eventually turn to stones. The couple were standing back to back. The wife is facing the sea. This is also called "Husband and wife Island"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Typical Day in Nhatrang

On the way going back to Nha Trang, we bought some fruit called chom chom. The look may be deceivably ugly but it is very tasty.

Spent my first day in Nhatrang on the beach. We catch the showering rain but it stops quickly just to yield the sunny sky again decorated by a rainbow.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City

We spend most of the day today to go shopping in Ho Chi Minh city (used to be called Saigon before the war). Comparing to 4 years ago when I came here this place is better: more tourist friendly and cleaner than I had experienced. We take the cab to get around the city. The first people to visit is my uncle who was just undergone a heart bypass surgery: seven arteries needed to be replaced. I have known former president Clinton had triple bypass, CBS host show Dave Letterman had quadruple bypass but this is the first time I have heard of this! It is quite a haunting story when my uncle starts talking about his near-death state of mind: he hears and sees strangers standing outside the surgical room playing music and asking him to get out with them. He even hears one of the guy said "Why is it taking too long for this guy to die?"!!! Optical or audible hallucination caused by side effect of drug or not I leave it to your interpretation.

After that we go to Ben Thanh Market to go shopping and eat lunch there. The market is a much cleaner place than it was 4 years ago.

Crowded street traffic

Breakfast at the hotel

Eat a $5 lunch for 4 at Ben Thanh market. I was so full!

We will leave Ho Chi Minh city today to travel to Nha Trang tonight @ 8PM by the fast rail system. I hope we won't miss the firstsemi final between Germany and Italy!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Arrive In Vietnam

After 18 hours of flying and waiting during transit, we finally make it to Vietnam safely. The entire fly is nothing but boredom for the first 17.9 hours plus the last 10 minutes of the thrilling near-death experience when we landed in Vietnam.

The story was this: everything was fine up to the time when we were approaching Ho Chi Minh City. I guess that the thunderstorm and a pouring rain at 11:30 AM reduced the visibility of the runway to near zero. So at the final hour, just when we were about 100 feet above sea level, the pilots were still adjusting the pitch and flight path. The result was we had a very hard landing. I could actually feel the aircraft bounced up and down several times before it got "stick" onto the ground.

Needless to say, everybody on the plane was making the sign of the cross and some even applauded to the flight crew. Phew!!! What an experience.

Food court at Taipei International Airport

PS: Friends in Houston, I still remember and miss you guys dearly.

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