Monday, February 09, 2004

After Mui Ne we took a 2 am bus up to Nha Trang, another beach city about 5 hours north. We were pretty ready to get out of Mui Ne after the turbulent day...the bus ride to Nha Trang was uneventful, we got probably our best hotel room yet in Nha Trang for only $4 a night and spent the day hanging out on the beach. Overall it was a pretty relaxing day. Just read a book and chilled. The only eventful thing that happened was this woman selling snacks and cigarettes who came up to us and refused to leave until we bought something. She kept putting this pack of cigarettes in my hand and I kept pushing it back...after about 15minutes of saying i didn't want it, Shaul bought a pack of Mentos and she went away. It was funny for awhile, but it started getting annoying. A lot of the salespeople in vietnam so far seem to get angry when you don't buy something from them. They keep saying nice things to you, and when you don't buy they act all guy yesterday on the beach was selling these silk and rice-paper paintings to us and talked to us for awhile. He was being really friendly, but he wanted to sell us these paintings for $10 at first (which he said he painted himself, but they were the same paintings i've seen in every souvenir shop in vietnam). He said he normally sells them to rich tourists for $25 a piece and that he has been invited all over the world to display his work in galleries. It was a huge load of BS, but we played along and Shaul wanted to buy 3 paintings. Eventually he bargained him down to about $7 for 3 of them, and he got progressively more unfriendly as we bargained with him. Then he turned to me to buy something, but i barely had any money on me and didn't really want one. After a lot of saying no he got really angry and stormed off like he had just been ripped off by us. We didn't know what to kind of made us upset cuz we seemed to piss him off and he seemed all friendly at first. Then today we get to Dalat we realized it was all a scam anyway because a shop here was selling the paintings for $.50 a piece (before bargaining). I bought two and the lady looked at me funny for not bargaining with her.

So last night in Nha Trang one of my goals for vietnam was accomplished, I've wanted a hooker to come up and say "I sucky sucky very good" to us the whole trip and it finally happened. Our bus out to Dalat was at 7am this morning, so last night we went to a pool hall and just played pool for awhile. We started talking to the girls working there, and they were teaching us all these vietnamese words. It was fun for awhile, then one of them said something about me in vietnamese and they all laughed. The other one translated and said that she said I have a crooked nose...I didn't know whether to be offended or what, but we just left after that. I didn't know how to respond to that, except smile and walk out.

Anyway this morning we got on the bus to Dalat, a city in the mountains famous for its wine (less than $2 a bottle, and it's pretty good), its coffee, and the nearby waterfalls. The busride out here was really scenic, the city is in the mountains so we drove over a couple mountains and I took a bunch of great pictures from the window of the bus. Also, another great thing about vietnam, no karaoke on the bus. The bus driver still honks like michael jackson after a nosejob, but it's at least bearable without the karaoke. We got to Dalat and just walked around the city, and thought there was something strange about it. We couldn't figure out what it was, but then we realized that no one was staring at us, people weren't shouting "hello" while driving by, people weren't laughing as we walked by, even crazier was that motobike drivers weren't offering us rides, weed, or girls, which has all been happening nearly everywhere we've gone for the past 4 weeks. We just walked down the street like normal people, not like two huge dollar signs...even the people in the shops didn't try to drag us in to buy something. I don't know why this is the case here, especially since there doesn't seem to be many westerners, but it was pretty cool overall. Especially after all the hassling on the beach in Nha Trang.

So today and tomorrow I'm in Dalat, going to check out the waterfalls tomorrow, then take a bus back to Saigon at 11pm and get in at about 5am. I leave for China on the 12th, and I'm pretty excited about it...


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