Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nha Trang: or Petrol in Paradise

The Ana Mandara is the most beautiful hotel we've seen:

This little fish pond is just off the lobby, which is to the left.

This is the view off our patio; the sidewalk heads down to the beach.

One of two pools, facing the beach. This one flows down the side into a wading pool around the perimeter for the kids.

The standard view, which Lori really loves: the surf in the foreground, mountains in the background.

The beautiful fish in the fish pond. Today we saw kissing gourami doing their thing. Sweet.

An arty shot Marc took this morning, in the (ok, somewhat rare) sunshine. This place is really gorgeous.

When we first arrived in our taxi, the Dutch woman who runs the place greeted us at the front door and immediately scolded Lori for getting out of the taxi. (What else should we have done?!).

We were provided with our own personal guest representative, Trieu, who gave us a tour of the whole place and showed us all the details of our room. We suspect she lurks in the bushes, watching us. Our every need and want are anticipated and filled, sometimes before we even know we need or want it. For example: when we arrived, they took our passports (as per usual) and also wanted our tickets from Nha Trang to HCMC (our next trip). Once we were in our room, Trieu called us to let us know that there was a mistake with our tickets. We were planning to fly to HCMC on November 2, but our tickets were somehow booked for October 2. Trieu said she would take care of it for us, she (or someone) would go into Nha Trang and get the appropriate booking for us.

One sunny day we were lounging around the pool, like you do, when a sweet Vietnamese girl came up to us with a basket. A guy had already come around with a fruit basket, offering us fresh fruit, but she came with moist towels (a very common thing here), free bookmarks, and then, the piece de resistance: she asked if she could clean Lori's sunglasses for her. You know, the sea air is salty and leaves a film on your glasses.

Our plan is always to explore the city we're in, and we're somewhat used to the exhaust smell in the air, but here in Nha Trang it's so acrid it stings our eyes. We stayed close to the hotel, except for a fish dinner our first night. We'd heard that Nha Trang is known for its excellent Italian food, and there's an Italian joint nearby, so we walked down the beach. Marc had amazing fritto misto. The irony of Italian food in Vietnam.

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