Published on April 2nd, 20139
A Dash to Nha Trang: Day 3 – Bliss and Ack!
In light of yesterday’s roller-coaster ride of bliss vs. serious mishap, I’m presently treating myself this morning to a late breakfast/early lunch (of Ceasar Salad garnished with bitty quail eggs in lieu of the usual slices of chicken egg) at the posh “Dreams” resort (coincidentally with some of the best jazz on the Planet piped throughout) at the beach across from my hotel.
Ah but stepping back to yesterday…
Day 3: The Bliss of… Bathing in a Tub of Latte
A much anticipated day at the Nha Trang mud baths, and oh my – I was NOT disappointed.
A most uniquely decadent experience, from start to finish.
My hotel made the reservation, and promptly at 11am on the dot, a Mercedes mini-bus picked me up for the 20 minute ride across the river to the outskirts of Nha Trang to the Thap Ba Spa, a complex of picture-perfect tropical serenity: cobbled paths weaving around a latte-colored lake festooned with tropical blooms and quaintly arched bridges. Further afield, multi-level stone steps lead up the hillside to the mud baths (wooden tubs shaped like footed French bathtubs just large enough for a cozy duo), the mineral baths (heart-shaped ceramic tubs), mineral showers, jet streams and even a man-made waterfall streaming warm mineral water. There also were not one but several mineral water swimming pools, cabana lounges and Vietnamese waiters scurrying around serving tropical drinks.
In short: Paradise.
And the best part is – the spa not only offers a myriad of decadent ala carte options (V.I.P vs. private vs. collective mud tubs, herbal massages, etc.) but the mineral swimming pools and waterfall are available for all – for as long as you like. Indeed, even a backpacker on a shoestring budget can enjoy a full day of (shared) mud bath, mineral bath, jets, waterfall and swimming pool for as little as 120,000 vnd (about $6).
But yours truly was on a bit of a luxury hiatus so I opted for the full-meal-deal: a private warm mud bath (I was told that the mud in the private vs. the collective tubs was much warmer, and sloshing around in cold mud didn’t especially appeal), followed by a short bake in the sun to set a “mud crust” (said to be good for the skin) and an amble through a series of strong mineral water jets; plus a soak in a warm, heart-shaped mineral bath, followed by a swim in the mineral pool, an hour’s lounge in the shade sipping a complimentary Tequila Sunrise, and – as if all that wasn’t decadent enough – the most EXquisite (45 min. full-body) Vietnamese massage I’ve ever had, topped off by a 10 min. zen sit in the sauna.
Yup, all that luxurious, sensual decadence – for a mere 27 U.S. green backs.
I tell ya, that mud bath was like bathing in a warm, frothy latte. Like swimming in SATIN. Utterly divine!
Uh… but unfortunately, my day at the spa took a decidely not so “divine” turn for the worse later that evening…
Day 3: The Ack of… Getting Run Down by a Motorbike
Yup. Bound to Happen. I mean, given my tally of now more than a thousand rides on the back of a motorbike in the past year and a half here in Asia – it was inevitable. Indeed, arguably long overdue.
The sad tale:
So after THE most incredibly pleasant day at the Thap Ba spa, I opted to have dinner at the Night Market. A simple but tasty meal of fresh pineapple juice and a plate of delish deep-fried squid. The Night Market in Nha Trang btw, isn’t nearly as swell as the one in Luang Prabang, Loas, so in lieu of dawdling amid the same ol’ same ol’ crap, errr. plastic trinkets, “Good Moring Vietnam!” t-shirts emblazoned with Ho Chi Minh’s mug, honking rubber chickens et al, I headed to the main drag and hailed a xe om to hie me back to my hotel.
In short? Next thing I know we’re whizzing through traffic when…
Another motorbike (a bright, shiny red one as I dimly recall in the blur of slo-mo sliding off the bike and landing unpleasantly HARD in the middle of the street) ran into us. To my xe oms’s credit, even in my slo-mo daze, I could tell he tried his level best to swerve safely away, but…
No dice, we both landed soundly in the street – I, not surprisingly, a good bit disoriented and fearing for broken appendages. Fortunately, most everything seemed to be in working order, albeit blood oozed from a largish gash in my leg and I wasn’t at all sure I could walk. But as I was lying amid whizzing traffic, you can jolly-well bet I accepted the shoulder of some bystander and limped slowly to the curb. There I pretty much collapsed (likely from shock), but slowly revived amid the clamor of 50+ Vietnamese that crowded around me jabbering gibberish mixed with the occasional “police coming” and “want hospital?”
Long story short – I figured a hospital was a bit over the top, but (as you can well imagine) I was eager to get the H out of there so asked for a taxi (btw, the police did arrive but I must say, pretty much stood around doing absolutely nothing. Whereas, I really have to hand it to my xe om. After chasing down and SCREAMING at the shiny red perp, he stayed glued to my side until I was safely in the taxi).
There, the front desk folk (who blessedly spoke a smidge of English) swiftly came to my aid, cleaning my wound with antiseptic, getting a chunk of (rare) ice, and calling a doctor (I requested one to check me out, just to be on the safe side.)
Tucked into my room, the doctor arrived shortly (impeccable English, with quintessential black “doc” bag – I mean, g-knows docs most certainly don’t make such friendly house-calls in the U.S., am I right?) Very professional, tested me for broken any ‘n all, concussion, internal organs, et al. Dressed the wound smartly, gave me a boatload of anti-inflamatories, antibiotics, anti-younameits plus pain killers, and… declared me fit to live a long and healthy life. 😉
All this mind you for… his “bill” came to a grand total of 500,000 dong (about $25)
Needless to say, it was quiiiiiiite an eclectic emotional mix of a day. And indeed, in retrospect, it may well be that the sublime relaxation/massage of blissful spa treatments I enjoyed earlier in the day – contributed to/protected me from, perhaps far more serious, nay broken bone trauma. I was so relaxed when that motorbike hit us, it didn’t even occur to me to stiffen up in terror, but rather – I verily slid limply to the pavement, pretty much unscathed!
In any case, so as not to dwell on the ack of it, but rather on the blissful part of my roller-coaster day (I mean, what’s the point of the former after all? What’s done is done and I’m just thankful it wasn’t a WHOLE.LOT.WORSE, yes?) I shall leave you with a bundle of pics from the more blissful part of my day.