Published on April 1st, 20136
A Dash to Nha Trang: Day 2
First of all, uh… April Fools?
That said, just a quick one here ‘cuz I’m off this morning for the single-most anticipated activiy of my dash to Nha Trang: the MUD BATHS!
Besides, yesterday’s post squandered the better part of my morning here (I mean, these tomes don’t write themselves, yes?) so if I am to maintain this daily “As-It-Happens” diary, I best keep my blathering a tad more brief.
(btw, I think I’ve got this “AIH” pecking timeline wacko – given the blazing sun and heat here, I SHOULD be pecking these daily posts AT NIGHT, after dinner rather than in the preciously cool yet sunshiny mornings. Too late now, but will try that tonight…)
Actually not a very stellar day. Then again, they can’t all be stellar, else we’d have nothing against which to judge the REALLLLY sterllar days, yes?
As I said, didn’t even get out of the hotel til nearly noon, and headed south down the beach boulevard (the opposite direction of yesterday’s foray) to track down another geocache (GC3NNX9). This one, allegedly tucked/hanging overhead about 6 ft. in a tree.
Yep, from my “allegedly” hint, you guessed it – I DNF’d (Did Not Find) the silly thing. Disappointment #1, but of course there’s a “story” to ease the pain of it.
The hide was in lovely section of the (miles long!) park along the beach. In an area clearly a magnet for locals, not tourists. And indeed, there were plenty of locals swarming around the HUGE statue of some dude named “Tran Quoc Tuan” who apparently staved off not one, but two invasions by Kublai Khan’s mighty Mongolian army (waytago, sir!) And indeed, there’s a HUGE statue of said dude in the middle of a large square – bout 25 ft. from “ground zero” (my geoquarry: the “tree” with the allegedly tucked/hanging you-know-what).
So I nonchalantly circle said tree looking as non-suspicious as possible – in my lovely new BRIGHT turquoise gauze sundress accented demurely by my even BRIGHTER juicy-fruit-colored plaid scarf. Lots of nooks ‘n crannies that might hold a wee cache container (presumably the ubiquitous geo-film canister), but… after all the hint did stipulate that it was at “3 meters”, and alas even on a good day – the top of my head rises but 5’ 5″.
So I get more aggressive, tiptoe into the narrow flower bed at the base of the tree, reach up and try my best to finger those many cubbies up at 6 ft. or so. Nada. No geocache container. And furthermore, many of the most fruitful-looking cubbies are juuuuust a smidge out of my reach.
Seriously forlorn, I desperately try to think of how I can finger those alluring out-of-reach cubbies. “What I need here” says I, “is a TALL, English-speaking foreigner”. Indeed, English-speaking so I can somehow explain why on earth I’m fondling a tree, and tall enough so they can likewise fondle the upper reaches of said tree on my behalf. But looking around, there’s nary such a specimen in sight. I am surround by local Vietnamese – uniformly SHORT Vietnamese, and furthermore, likely few, if any speak more than a splash of English.
Ah but I do see the next best thing – a young, Western-looking lass with a bicycle (alas, not much taller than me, but still…), chatting with an older, European-looking lass. Long story short? I explain my geoplight to them both, and soon the sweet young thing (she turned out to be Russian, natch, but blessedly a Russian who just happens to speak impeccable English) was… enthusiastically nearly CLIMBING said tree fingering every nook and cranny in search of the cache.
We even likewise fondled a tree nearby on the off-chance the coordinates were off by 20 ft.
In short, no way, no how. There simply was no geojoy for either of us. (and btw, for my fellow geocachers out there who are wondering – yes, the cache had been found just 2 days ago)
So that was a bit of disappointment. But hey – in the process, I met a most charming (and intrepidly agile) Russian lass. Oh, and furthermore, I learned why many of Vietnam’s beach meccas are swarming with Russians (as opposed to say… Japanese, or Aussies, or….) Turns out, the Russians come to Vietnam ‘cuz they don’t need ANY VISA whatsoever for a 15 day stay. And even a 90 day visa for Russians is just $10! (vs. we Americans who must cough up some $65 for a 30 day single entry visa.)
O.k. quickly, quickly now, I shall fill you in on the rest of my day.
After the geocache debacle, I grabbed a xe om and headed up to the central market for an early dinner. And though I know I should be gobbling fresh seafood, seafood, seafood at every turn here in Nha Trang, I couldn’t resist trying the “Shaking Crocodile” (they also offered likewise shaking ostrich, but I figured I’d save that for another night).
My review of said wobbling croc? Well first of all, it wasn’t trembling so much as – laying inert in a puddle of reddish sweet-sourish sauce. And the taste? Um, let’s just say – delish, IF you favor tough and grizzly.
(but hey – it was CROCODILE after all, so agueably I should have known that going in, yes?)
O.k. off to slather myself in gobs of M.U.D.