October 26, 2013 – Nha Trang Vietnam
As we entered Nha Trang harbor, the pilot boarded the boat by climbing up a rope ladder hanging over the side while his boat driver kept pace with the ship. Then the Vietnamese customs officers boarded, from this boat, in the same manner – all 10 of them! I have seen many pilots board and disembark, but never have I seen a large group of customs guys climbing a rope ladder from a moving boat while clutching their briefcases. Most impressive. I didn’t want to risk my camera, nor my life, leaning over to get a picture.
When we enter a port, we are required to fly their national flag on our ship – it looks strange to see this particular flag flying on our ship.
This is our second visit to Nha Trang, having been here in 2012. Nha Trang is a fishing village which is growing into a major tourist destination while maintaining an active “fishing” flavor.
Increasingly, the ports we visit turn out some form of local greeting party. In this case it is a banner and some Vietnamese ladies dressed in the local fashion. I noticed these dresses on our last visit – they are quite attractive and apparently unique to Vietnam.
The vendors awaited us on the pier – with everything from luggage to jewelry.
For some reason, in Nha Trang, the military always has a couple of dozen troops around – I guess they act as police officers also, but I never see them taking any sort of action, although Sally did say she saw them shoo away a guy leaving the vending area headed for the buses. They usually ride one or two to a motorbike, riding around the pier randomly. If they have any sort of official purpose, it is well disguised.
We decided to stay on the ship, other than a brief look at the vendors goods on the pier, and take it easy – attempting to rest up from China.
Last time we were here, we visited Vin Pearl, which is on an island across the bay, reachable by boat or cable cars, which pass almost directly over our ship. Vin Pearl is an amusement park, not quite on the scale of DisneyWorld, but very nice. It has rides, restaurants, a beach, and an aquarium. This time we chose to observe it from the deck of the ship while resting – probably a better choice.
Fishing is still a major activity here, with most fishing boats of this type, with a crew of two or three to pull the nets.
There were also a number of these round boats, which were towed out in long “trains” by an outboard boat. I suppose they cut themselves loose at their desired fishing spot, fish all day and wait for the tow boat to return. This lucky fellow has a prime spot on the buoy marker
When this cruise itinerary was announced, this stop was supposed to be in Da Nang rather than Nha Trang. One of our tablemates (yes we have been eating in the dining room on this trip – more later) booked the cruise just to visit Da Nang, since the husband of the couple served in Da Nang as a Marine at the beginning of the war. His Marine unit is having a reunion soon, and he wanted to visit Da Nang and be able to provide photos and an “update” on what Da Nang was like presently, to the group. Rather than cancel, they came on the cruise with a plan to leave the ship in Nha Trang, travel to Da Nang, and rejoin in Singapore. Their travel plans are not firm, they get no help from the ship, and it is much more difficult to book than a short trip in the U.S. would be. Imagine trying to find and communicate with airlines, train operators, hotels, etc. They are not big users of the internet, so they plan to just get off the ship, and then book it. I am anxious to see how it comes out, when, hopefully, we see them in Singapore – our next port of call.