So this makes two days in a row of nothing. And it felt great. No alarms and no schedules. And if the weather yesterday was perfect - today was even "perfect..er."
Even without alarms we all managed to converge for our three square meals a day - think we are just referencing our Very Happy Buddha Clock! Finally making progress on the 6 islands of the breakfast menu. Certainly one of the biggest amd most expansive buffets of the trip (and that's saying something.) And Loraine and Mac have continued with their growing love affair with the iced coffee - the brew, condensed milk and ice - definitely a sharp heart starter.
Enjoyed a light lunch overlooking the fresh water infinity pool while being entertained with a running commentary on the lady in the red bikini. Richard also announced at lunch that he needed to stop sharing his hotspot. We are sad to see that connection broken but we're lucky to have had that luxury for the last month.
LO_Ri had energy to burn in the morning and completed beach walks in both directions and swam in all the pools. Read the spots off the newspapers and solved some puzzles while avoiding the last pages of the book Loraine never wants to end. In the interest of Operation DUMBO they persisted with their communication efforts and made successful contact with a Russian tourist while bobbing around in the ocean. With some energetic miming they did get "Serbia" and "cold."
Mac and I hit the saltwater for the afternoon and thought we had the beach to ourselves. That lasted for about 10 minutes before the sandy shore was suddenly over run. Think the ubiquitous lady almost in the red bikini on the hill over looking the beach may have been the attraction.
Headed instead to our beach deck chair with a couple of glasses and a cold wine bottle intent on soaking in the last of our ocean views. In our stretch of beach there must be 20 doubles and we were the only takers this afternoon. Just as we'd wiggled our bottoms into just the right place the beach was invaded by a delegation of 20 German reps from the Bridgestone conference! They unfurled their banners and flags while animated bilingual German speaking Vietnamese shouted their way through about 30 minutes of instructions. Not sure why they had to choose our little patch of the beach but we abandoned all thoughts of "bliss" and "tranquility" and toasted and cheered them on.
This place is picture perfect. The grounds staff spend the first hours of the morning with a rake a basket and a sieve, huddled along the stretches of sand that make up the beach. Every section of sand goes through that sieve. Every leaf, twig, seed and cigarette butt is removed daily and the sand raked to a smooth carpet finish to greet the guests. The paved walkways are meticulously brushed with a hand held broom and litres of water are poured into the grassed areas and gardens. I haven't seen the grounds staff polish the pebbles and plump up the fronds of the palm trees yet, but I wouldn't be surprised.
I see the grounds staff each morning as I try and catch the sun rising but as yet the staff who do the rooms remain invisible. The towels keep getting changed, water bottles replenished, bed turned down, coconut treats left for midnight snacks, rubbish disappears and yes, the toilet paper is always folded to the arrow head peak. Figure they must advise housekeeping as we checkin for meals and checkout for our tours. Pretty impressive how ever it is managed.
Took a taxi ride into town to the famous LANTERNS for dinner and on investigating the menu actually thought we were in the wrong place. How could a venue with main meals topping out at $6 a plate be "famous." Have to say it was AMAZING and we all wished that we had capacity and inclination to try more. Some visually stunning meals were served inside whole pineapples and coconuts - and these were definitely popular amongst the diners. Our choices were around stuffed calamari, prawn honey puffs and clay hotpots steamed with lashings of delicious beef, chicken and vegetables.
And it is just a little thing. But our starters of garlic bread and bruschetta were the best yet in Vietnam and Cambodia AND our meals and drinks arrived in the right order, for the right guests at the right time. Wow, still reeling at the $6 a head and just saying, the bottle of wine we shared was more than the collective food total.
After I had taken the group at least a km out of the way, Mac found the night markets for us and in stifling humidity we put our game faces on and sought some bargains under a clear sky (yes, yes, yes - we could actually SEE the stars.) Richard was interested in every detour into a shop that had air conditioning! And was begging us to "linger longer" unearthing pearl bargains and turning over handbags and shoes that he had no interest in buying! Funny that.
Hailed the smallest cab in Nha Trang and with head bent forward and shoulders crushed together headed home. What a bonus though, this was the first cab ride with air conditioning so we were very quiet and accepting as our cabbie entertained us with his views on the tourists especially Australians with money!
Unanimous vote was to leave the packing until tomorrow. Who knows, maybe with the magic of this place, our bags will pack themselves.
Love Nha Trang.........let's just sum it up by saying we love Vietnam.
Steps: 5 346
Temperature: 36 degrees (night time does not cool down!)
PS: Did some serious survellience today of the KGB operative in the red bikini. Mac and Richard went under cover as Beach Pervs and despite their dedicated commitment to long distance body searching, no sign of the Elephant Bag in either the discarded bikini top or the hitched and wedged bikini bottoms. Richard has noted that although you can't hang out your smalls in front of your villa, you can definitely hang out your bigs beside the pool....at the ocean....and under the waterfall. Thank you boys - your dedicated willingness to serve on Operation DUMBO has been noted.