Well…… they said If I was here and attracting foreigners, others would follow, and follow they have. I have a person interested in turning my lobby into a western restaurant. I also talked with a person yesterday who wishes to open a BBQ restaurant, and I have just learned that one of the bars from the main tourist area is opening another close to me. Things are slowly taking form and I have a feeling that this is going to be a choice destination for people in the near future. This week I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people trying to reserve rooms for the weekend. I wish I had room for them all. Today we had 2 new restaurants open. Both are Vietnamese, but a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The food looks good and the prices reasonable. This area is on the move…. I just hope it does not turn into a busy place like the main tourist area.
Our guests Tom and Ying from Toronto were an adventurous couple. We started their visit with a trip to the local Bia Hoi joint. The last day in NhaTrang, I suggested doing a 4 island tour with snorkeling. As a Hotel owner, I can go on these trips to check them out for my customers. This tour was offered by a company that specializes in Vietnamese tourists. (I did not know that at the time) Tom and Ying thought it a good idea to go, and I tagged along. We were picked up at our hotel at 8:30 am as promised, and we headed towards the docks. Along the way we stopped to pick up more people. The van was full when they stopped at another hotel for more people….. Whaa???? I started to get angry and told the host that if we were going to be over loaded, we would get out and cancel
the trip. After a frantic phone call, the organizer was apologetic and guaranteed these were the last people to pick up. It was probably a good move as they are trying to get us to send business their way. We arrived at the docks and promptly were loaded onto our boat. No what were we getting into? The boat to the left had perhaps 20 people of mixed ethnicity, as did the boat to the right. Ours had perhaps 40 people…. All Vietnamese. Hmmmm, what are we in for? My insisting not to be crammed like sardines in the van backfired a bit as we were forced to wait for another vehicle to pick up 6 more people. They finally arrived, and off we went, close to fifty people in a boat with 12 life jackets. I was stewing with distaste of yet another chaotic, messy, and noisy Vietnam experience.
After 45 minutes of cruising to loud music and narrative and we arrived at Tom Island. We were there for about an hour or so and spent the time snorkeling a coral reef with very shoddy equipment. Things were looking up though as the reef was nice and watching the fishes and coral through the leaky masks was fun. Back on the boat we headed of a seaside rendezvous with two other boats. The mood on the boat turned loose and party like. Tom and Ying were having a pretty good time now and that made me feel a lot better. I have experienced the Vietnamese way of touring many times and was concerned for my guests. It turns out that our Boat was to be the main entertainment and out came the guitar, drums, keyboard, bass, and the lady boy. The crew entertained the large group with songs,
dancing, and humorous antics that had the Vietnamese rocking. The beers came out to make it complete and the party was on. With the three boats tied together, a floating bar was launched, and everybody was into the water. Bobbing around drinking wine was a hit with everybody and the party continued for another half hour or so. After the fun was over, the three boats untied and off we went to another island that had a small beach, and loungers a person could have an hour nap on. Tom and Ying approached me and said even though the trip started off bad, they were having a great time and that I should consider suggesting this trip to people who wish to experience the real Vietnamese way of touring. Perhaps they are right. I have always assumed that most westerners would dislike this kind of travel with all the noise, crowding, and confusion, but the happiness and fun the people have seems to overcome the shortfalls. The fourth island we visited had an aquarium that was optional to visit. I had been there in the past, so I passed. We arrived back at the dock around 4:30 and there was 2 cars to deliver us back to our hotels…..
a wise choice.
I will definitely recommend this trip to all Vietnamese, but will offer with a warning to the foreign guests. Me?? I guess I will go again if my customers wish me to, however, I will take my own equipment.