The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around the World (Again) Vietnam, Nha Trang

Nha Trang
I was up early, showered, breakfasted, and ready  to go. The Railway Station is a little way from the city centre, so it was a taxi ($10) and of course I was super early 08:00, but as a lot of others were also waiting I was in good company, I had booked a seat so no problems there.  So eventually they open the doors to the platform and the train rolled in. I found my carriage and seat no problem, got my stuff stowed away and settled down. 

The train was not very full, but as it moved on its journey North (Final destination Hanoi well over 2000 km further North) it picked up and set down passengers, more picking up than setting down. It rolled through the countryside and I tried as best as I could to take photographs through the grimy carriage windows.

Every now and then a trolley would be pushed along the aisle selling food and drink both warm and cold. There is no dining car but they come and ask you what  you want (or may be tell you what they have)and then next time the trolley comes along they deliver it to your seat.

At Ca Na quite a lot of people got on, a family came and sat in the seats adjacent to me, the daughter (14) sat in the seat next to me, we soon got involved in a conversation, she spoke very good English. Her brother (10) was joining in from the seat in front. The young lady was very knowledgeable, they had been visiting an Uncle and Aunt for the TET celebrations and were now traveling back home to Hanoi, but breaking their journey for a few days in Nha Trang (this was good as I would then get off when they got off). The time flew, it was a bit of question and answer on all of our parts, on arrival at Nha Trang, the mother came and thanked me profoundly, saying it was very good of me to keep the children occupied, I said no the pleasure was all mine, I had learnt a lot from them.

At Nha Trang it was a bit of a melee, everyone jumping into taxis, I sought out a motor bike and asked the price, guess what, $10, it is always the same.

I said I wanted to go to the Blue House, a guest house recommended in my Footprint guide. I discovered later that the railway station isn’t all that far away but he took a very long route, more than likely to give me my $10 worth.

I was taken to a ground floor room that opened out onto the terrace and the outside reception. All very clean and large, with two double beds and En-suit. Decoration a bit dated, but it wasn't La Fritz and didn't cost $35 a night.

The man of the house showed me around, upstairs was a spacious breakfast terrace (breakfast included).
Downstairs Patio, my room is the double doors behind the seats

I got my backpacks stowed away in the lockable cupboard and headed into town. The first thing that you will notice is that everything is written in two languages, Vietnamese and Russian. The second thing you will notice is the place is absolutely crawling with them. This place is geared up to the Ruble. Though they do take dollars everywhere, the Russians will only pay in Rubles, they will also only eat Russian food and drink Vodka at every meal.
This could have been a Black Sea holiday spot. Next door there was a caviar bar, it was called  -10°, the inside temperature is kept at that you get fur coats and boots on arrival and go and drink Vodka and eat caviar and no I didn't try it!

I later found out from my chum in Hanoi, the reason that this is a Russian holiday destination, it goes back to the Cold War days and the Vietnam War. The price that the Vietnamese government had to pay for being supplied with Russian armaments etc. was that after the war they got use of Nha Trang as a Naval Base for 20 years, this led to them using it a recuperation centre for their Indian Ocean and China Sea fleets, the sailors wives would be flown down to do whatever sailors do with their wives (and other women if a wife is not at hand). After the 20 years, they gave back the base, but still kept on coming.
This may seem as if I am anti- Russian, but not in the least, it is just I hate having to weave my way through rows and rows bodies on any beach to get my little toosies wet, be it Benedom, Travemunde, Antalya or here in Nha Trang. And all the more so when it becomes one state culture, I suppose this was the equivalent of the Sunday Roast or Steak and Kidney pie set in areas of Spain, no that is not my type of holiday.

That evening I walked around the shops, restaurants and bars, it certainly caters for tourists, they sell everything her, from stuffed baby crocodiles to bottle shops selling vodka and cigarettes. There are loads of restaurants, but as I said most of them as well as selling Vietnamese food, cater for the Russians (they seem not to want to eat local food (that is anything from SE Asia) and prefer their own grub so they will want potatoes with everything.

I found a nice restaurant that did not serve Russian Borscht or some other North European food (I love it but not in SE Asia, thank you) I had a nice fish stew, followed by a grilled snapper on the bone, all fantastically spicy and tremendously tasty.

Just to show how fresh the fish and shellfish are here is what they had to choose from.

Next morning after breakfast, I decided on a walk along the beach promenade to the fishing port, this was a good walk and was well worth the sweat (it was over 30°C).

I was stopped by a group of teenagers, who insisted on being photographed with me, so I got one of them to do a group photo for me, lovely kids, friendly and so nice.

I stopped off at a nice restaurant, were they brewed their own beer (taught by their brothers in the old DDR), it was at a very nice spot, obviously specializing in shell fish, from here I could watch the blue uniformly painted fishing boats coming and going, some setting nets and traps quite close to the shore.

Cheers My dears

The fishing harbour was full of bobbing vessels,

I stood for a while and watched as a fisherman done a bit of filleting for his pot, the rest of the catch already having been already sold, and this was small fry and fish heads.

At this area in Vietnam (and I now know at other places) the old woven pitch coracles are still used for going from boat to shore, but also for setting nets and traps. Bit like it was in Wales many years ago.

Across a bridge from the fishing harbour is Buddhist temple, but I wasn’t aiming on doing that today, that will be another trip out.

It was lunch time so what does one have in a Fishing Port, well I can eat it with or without Port, fish of course, there are quite a few restaurants, selling fresh fish and shell fish, just to make sure it is fighting fresh it is kept alive in plastic oxygenated plastic basins.

I selected a selection of different shellfish and a slice of tuna (Bonito), a stove was set up on the table and a pot full of spicy fish stock was placed on it, there was also a selection of vegetables, cabbage, morning glory, coriander, mint, basil and snake beans.

First in went some of the vegetables, then the fish and the shell fish just dipped in for a few minutes, the stock is then drunk afterwards, I certainly enjoyed this meal.

I watched while a new delivery of shell fish was delivered, this was at once sorted graded and put into the aerated basins ready for sale.

I walked the length of the beach back to the turn off for my hotel (well I walked a bit further as I missed the spot that I should have turned up from the beach, but I was having such good fun paddling in the foam of the South China Sea and my mind was miles away. I was content, if only I didn’t have to keep dodging Russian tourists, but then they are only enjoying themselves as well. I actually bought some Jackfruit, to enjoy, both while walking and while back at my room. It was still very hot and I could feel a tightening of the skin on my back, so that meant one thing, shower and some after-sun. I had the shower and lay down and before you could say Jack Robinson, I was dozing.

It was dark when I awoke, but then that didn’t mean a lot, it could be any time between 18:00 and 06:00, not processing a watch, I always rely on my mobile (if I have remembered to charge it), but it was just before 19:00 so I got into my clothes and headed into town for a light bite to eat. Here I must apologise, for some reason it seems that I have deleted a whole wad of Photos as I can find none on my second evening in Nha Trang, but you really are not missing a lot.

Day 2 Nha Trang
The next day, after breakfast, I had decided to find the Post Office and get some stamps for cards that I had purchased (who are the lucky ones this time?), it was just around the corner on the way to the beach and promenade. I purchased the stamps (cost about 10 times what the cards cost) and headed along the beach in the opposite direction, that was towards the overhead cable car (Gondelbahn), this crossed to one of the larger off shore islands that has been turned into a bit of a tourist attraction and resort for the rich.
I walked to the end of the beach and then returned on the other side of the road as I needed an ATM, and could also do a bit of window shopping and look at a few menu’s though it was still far to early for lunch. I did have a beer at the Fat German, but again this was catering for Russians, who wants pork knuckle, boiled potatoes and sauerkraut when it is 35°C, certainly not I.
I walked back towards my hotel, I had noticed a small eating house with a very cheeky name, I decided to give it a try. The name “Same, Same, but Cheaper”, I decided to give it a try, I ordered two small plates from the menu, one of my favourites, grilled Baby Calamari’s and another was Spring Rolls. I ordered a bottle of Saigon Beer, I had found in HCMC that this was a very refreshing light Pils.
 I got chatting to the owner and he said that this was quite a good place to have a eating house as across the road was the Hahn Café, this was one of the main set down and pick up places for the day and sleeper buses that ply up and down Vietnam (mainly filled with Backpackers). They will tend to get there early and look for a cheap meal before setting off.
My meal came and as normally in Asia it comes to the table not how you ordered it but when it gets finished in the kitchen, sometimes all together, but normally in dribs in drabs, I quite like this as you know it is freshly cooked.
First came the baby calamari’s and then came my Spring Rolls with a dipping sauce, The calamari held no surprises tasty, crisp outside and soft inside, stuffed with a prawn/fish paste.

The spring rolls done in a way I had never had before, these had been rolled in rice vermicelli, wonderful idea and very tasty.  

After my siesta, I had a walk round town, there are a lot of restaurants, many overpriced, but these are mainly selling Australian steak, pork knuckle or something in that nature and it wasn't as if I had left Germany 20 years ago and had a craving for western food, so I headed back to my same, same and ordered a nice shellfish soup and well it did look nice, pork chop with pommes, sorry it did look ever so nice and tasted great and was not overpriced.

I had booked myself on a trip to the offshore islands for the next day so decided to have an early night, I wrote a bit on my blog and then it was shut eye!

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