Last night I arrived in Nha Trang via the 5 hour bus from Mui Ne. Nha Trang is a good sized city of about 300,000 people. It calls itself the premier seaside resort in Vietnam. THe primary attraction here seems to be the beach and some of the nearby islands, which to be honest, really doesn’t interest me all that much. I’ve seen my share of beaches. I’m here mostly because the idea of a 17 hour bus ride is less appealing than a 12 hour bus ride, which is what I’m going to have to take on my next trip from here to Hoi An.
The bus arrived after dark. I was able to whip out my trusty iPod Touch and found a place to stay on the cheap just a few blocks from the bus station.
A funny story from Mui Ne on the subject of guidebooks. I was about to leave my guesthouse a few days ago when a European couple walked in with their backpacks asking if there were any rooms available. The woman at the desk said “Yes, $20 a night”. The woman of the couple instantly pulls out her Lonely Planet and says “It says here $10-15 per night”. The woman at the counter responded “That was four years ago. We put in air conditioning and internet since then.” The man responded “but the book is from last year!”. I chuckled to myself and made a mental note to put that on the website.
When I arrived in Mui Ne, I walked around for five minutes, then went to one of the many stands which sold tours. I asked if they could get me a room for $20 a night with internet, and they said yes. They called around in found a place in 5 minutes and drove me there on their motorbike. Total cost to me: nothing and I got free transportation. They guys who found me the room got a finders fee, the guesthouse got a customer and I found a room. Everyone wins…..except the guidebook publishers.
I was also able to get some great photos of the sand dunes near Mui Ne. I hope to have those up later today. I was totally caught up with my photos when I left Mui Ne. That felt good.
The countryside from Mui Ne to Nha Trang was very beautiful. The bus made one stop at a restaurant which catered to buses. I’ve seen similar establishments all over SE Asia. As I was walking around, I took out my iPod to listen to some podcasts. One of the kids working there, I assume part of the family that owned the restaurant, got all excited and said “Is that an iPod Touch?!?” He knew everything about it, down the the specs, but had never seen one in person before. He offered to buy it from me, but I had to decline. Besides, I’m not sure it would do him any good without iTunes and it is tied to my account.
It is raining as I write this. When I left the hotel there was a minor flood on the street out front. The water was calf deep. There isn’t general flooding here, that part of the street is just in a slight dip. It was pretty neat to walk downstairs and see the street filled with water.
I think I’ll only be here for about two days. The things I really want to see are up near Hoi An and Hue, so spending more time here than necessary will just slow me down.