Five star luxury
09.07.2012 - 17.07.2012 31 °C
Day 283: Nha Trang, Vietnam 09/07/2012
Up at the crack of dawn for our train trip to Nha Trang, and after our final breakfast in Hoi An, we hit the road and before long we are waiting for the train in the station waiting room. As always, an Asian railway station offers a huge amount in the way of discomfort and people watching opportunities, and is something of an eye opener for the uninitiated amongst us. Dave befriends an American dad, bonding over their common position (self appointed) as family spokesman. One of the American family is a dead ringer for Oliver Mascoll.
The train eventually arrives, in the usual tardy Asian fashion, and we are soon onto the 'upper class' carriage, where there is barely room for the bags, let alone the six of us, and amid sleeping bodies and dirty floors we find the seats we have booked. Not quite the levels of luxury I think some members of our party were expecting but should see us from A to B over the course of the next eleven to twelve hours. Some beautiful scenery and an incredible storm help keep us entertained and after a spot of lunch and a quick kip we are soon in Nha Trang.
A very quick taxi ride to the Sheraton later and we are in our luxurious rooms, complete with huge bed, sea views and minibar. Cue scenes of unbridled jubilation as it emerges that there is a door between Gemma's and mine and Rosie and Billy's adjoining rooms. Again, small things entertain the smallest of minds. A delicious steaming bowl of pho constitutes dinner and before too long we are snuggling down in the huge beds for an early night. On this day my Alan Rickman impression is born...
Day 284: Nha Trang, Vietnam 10/07/2012
Up for the Sheraton breakfast experience and what an experience it is too! Plateful after plateful of fine food reaches our table. Bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, tomato, noodle soup, fruit platters, yoghurt, cheese. The list goes on. Pastries.
After the culinary delights of breakfast, and despite being so full we almost can't move, we take advantage of the hotel pool. Despite the water being a bit on the chilly side and the majority of the pool being in shade for most of the day we have a nice little time down there, whilst also paying a little visit to the games room found poolside. Some epic table tennis rallies and a couple of Ronnie-esque breaks on the table later me and Billy head up to the gym for a big session.
With such an action packed day behind us we head for a cocktail at happy hour in the 28th floor bar of the hotel before we go out for dinner, finding our way to the local part of the town for some serious seafood, a mountain of prawns and an even bigger mound of squid, all fresh off the barbecue. Delicious but far too much of it! Dave looks like a big child sat on the roadside on a tiny plastic stool.
Day 285: Nha Trang, Vietnam 11/07/2012
So, the theme of the Evans family holiday continues with another ridiculously big and sensationally good breakfast. After Anne and Dave head down to the beach for a while, we all go to the pool, where the Russian guests and guests of other nationalities' choice of speedo keeps us all entertained. I don't think there is ever a time or occasion they can ever be deemed appropriate.
Some poolside beers and a huge Uno session ensue mid-afternoon and not even the biggest thunderstorm of the trip can dampen the spirits from the safety of the poolside bar. After a quick shower and spruce up, we head out for dinner, which turns out to be a bit of a disaster. A bit too late and when we do find somewhere to eat it is not amazing. In fact, quite awful.
Day 286: Nha Trang, Vietnam 12/07/2012
Another belly busting breakfast sets the day up well and after a few platefuls each we all head to the beach for the first time. Very nice it is too and despite the brutal, unprovoked attack on me by a snake (maybe an eel) (but I prefer snake) we have a very pleasant day in the sun. One of the all time classic lines is uttered today as the fruit selling lady on the beach promotes her goods by shouting to each and every person on the sand. 'Lady, want pineapple? Boy, want mango?' And then we move onto her description of my father. 'Man-baby, want banana?' Gold. And the man-baby is what he will be known as from now on. In fact, 12th July will forever be known as Man-Baby Day.
After roaring at this new nomenclature we have a quiet afternoon and me and brother Billy hit the gym. The boys and Anne head for some more seafood whilst Gemma and Rosie stay for a girlie night in.
Day 287: Nha Trang, Vietnam 13/07/2012
A quiet day back at the beach with the Man-Baby and the rest of the crew. Despite yesterday's sea snake attack the sea beckons once more and I brave another serpent attack. Little to speak about other than the excellent baguettes acquired by Billy and his mummy. With it being Friday afternoon there are lots and lots of locals out and about enjoying the sand and the sea. A very decent dinner concludes an uneventful but perfectly decent day in the sun.
Day 288: Nha Trang, Vietnam 14/07/2012
A hearty Saturday morning breakfast is followed by a trip up to the central market to pick up some essentials. A new learn-to-tell-the-time watch for Man-Baby and some shorts for the rest of us. We also pick up a Man-Baby sized Vietnamese flag t-shirt for the big guy. A dead rat en route to the market causes Anne to jump out of her skin. Compelling stuff.
After all the fun of the fair this morning, the beach calls us back for a bit of sun, sea and shandy time. After this strenuous activity, we make our way out for a spot of food, calling in and sitting down at one place before realising it is awful and moving onto a place that is really quite sensational, in a much busier part of town but still at excellent prices. Myself, Gemma and the kid brother move on for a few drinkie-poos. Ends poorly.
Day 289: Nha Trang, Vietnam 15/07/2012
A few sore heads in the morning but the sun and sea work their healing powers well. We take advantage of the last few days of the Sheraton facilities and prepare for leaving the lap of luxury in a couple of days. Gemma, Billy and Rosie take advantage of the decent movie channels this evening, staying in with you guessed it, a couple of baguettes. Myself and the parents make our way to the night market where we are subjected to some excellent food at the side of the main thoroughfare. A good discovery and a very nice setting, with a lively atmosphere and a lot to see. The bed beckons nice and early and we enjoy the crisp, white sheets to make the most of our last day here tomorrow.
Day 290: Nha Trang, Vietnam 16/07/2012
A good night's sleep sees appetites restored to their former glory and the breakfast room gets the usual Evans treatment. We have yet another quiet day - I realise this blog/diary is getting less and less eventful by the entry (please don't judge us) - as we hit the beach and enjoy our last day of sea and sand together before we move on tomorrow.
Gemma and I take a stroll to the big hot air balloon at the far end of the beach whilst the storm clouds convene and the wind gathers a bit of pace. The small Vietnamese man in charge of the balloon tells us that due to current climatic conditions he regrets to inform us that safety regulations mean we cannot take a ride in the vessel. Or words to that effect ('Wind. No balloon').
And so we move onto the Cham temple, up in the seafood section of town and realise just how little of Nha Trang we have seen. A beautiful temple and a few mysterious chambers of worship, with some big, shiny idols adorned with garlands and huge burning piles of incense. The robes we don to enter these chambers are truly flattering, giving us both a slightly regal and holy look. Or an impostor nun/monk combo. You decide.
Stroll back to the hotel to find the rest of the gang at happy hour. We then have a very nice dinner back at the night market and enjoy our last night here before our next excellent train journey in the morning down to Saigon.