Ah…. Where to begin. I could probably start by saying I have had the honor of meeting some very nice people. Ken has many friends here and I had the extreme pleasure of meeting a few so far. Kimmy invited us to lunch and took us to a very nice buffet place in downtown Saigon. She has a magical personality and I hope very much she will look me up when visiting NhaTrang.
Yesterdays blog was a short one. Hau came banging on the door and we were set to hit the road for a trip into the Mekong. Here we were waiting for Ken to join us when sadly he announced that he is suffering some heave diarrhea. Which leads me into today’s sub topic:
A foreigner here must pay very close attention they what they eat. The food is wonderful and most things can be consumed safely, however, anything that is washed with local water must be treated as suspect. More importantly is the ice in your drink. There are two kinds of ice here. There are ice factories now that make ice from purified water. These can be recognized
because of a rounded shape and a small hole in the middle. They can be large or small in size. If you are drinking an iced beverage, check to make sure there is some evidence of this round ice. If you cannot see, or if it is crushed ask to make sure it is ice made by machine and not cut from a block. Also,
most restaurants that are set up western style, are washing with purified water so vegetables can be consumed safely, however, in local spots, unless it is boiled or peeled do not eat it. I have as of yet not had a problem by following these two basic rules. Now on with the story:
Ken retired to his room and Hau and I were off by our selves to try a new
highway that had just opened the day before. It reduced the time it takes to travel to the Mekong by three hours. The drive was beautiful. There are police at both ends of the new freeway to stop any motorcycles and trucks from entering and cars only are allowed. This may change but it made the ride pleasant. Since ken was not able to attend, it allowed me more time
to get to know Hau. Our driver was surprised that this was the first time he had seen Hau travelling in his shorts and a tee shirt rather than formal attire. Hau explained to him that this was a trip with a friend and not a tourist. I was honored. I now consider him a very good friend, and I hope to spend time with him whenever he is here in NhaTrang, or I in
Saigon. For any of my readers, if you plan to come here and need somebody to organize your trecks…. Hau is your man. Check out this website www.visitindochina.net Anyway…… back to Mekong. The drive took us only
1hr 10min to a town named My Tho. My Tho was founded by the Chinese back in the 13th century. At that time a group of Chinese approached the King (or Emperor) of Vietnam and asked for land to live. The King not wanting much do do with then gave them a piece of land far away, empty, and useless at the
time. The Chinese thrived and eventually flowed to the north where they established a very large Chinatown in Saigon. If you go to do business there, you will probably end up in Cho Lon eventually. We arrived at a newly build boat dock to have a private boat waiting for us. We were way ahead of any
tourists so we were alone (just the way I like it). Our small boat was chugging away across a wide section of the Mekong river when oh…oh…… A gentle wind started blowing, and the tide started to move in. The waves in the river grew to ocean size. The boat driver commented on the size informing us they were the largest he had ever experienced. Maybe it was that we were going earlier than normal, or perhaps somebody up there wanted me to have exciting things to write about.
Well……. After the waves started getting really big, I saw a bit of congers come over the drivers face and he started to concentrate on his driving. I also was becoming a bit concerned, I saw the same thing in Hau. Were we going to make it to the other side? Would the little boat be worthy of the task? Where is Batman?? Or Superman for that matter?? Do not change the channel. Stay tuned.
I have returned to see that NhaTrang is starting to fill up. Many hotels are totally booked and I am sure that our place will be also. I have discovered a disturbing thin upon my return.
The lady that operated this place before me has been hiding and witholdong taxes fron the government for years. They are rightly angry and will be keeping an eye on us as new owners….. Great!!! So much for charging the big bucks for a quick slingshot into profitability. While most hotels will triple in price the next two weeks, we will have to rent out rooms at a regular rate, or perhaps a little bit higher, but not as we intended. Maybe I can get a crowd that will drink coffee and beer in the lobby to help. Oh well……..This place is too much fun to worry about it now.