Rainy days

Our next stop up the coast has been Quy Nhon. This is not on the usual tourist routes as the open route buses do not stop there, and whilst the Saigon-Hanoi train does stop its rarely visited. That in itself seemed like a perfect reason to go, and to break up the journey between Nha Trang and Hoi An.

We had to catch a local style bus from Nha Trang which took 5 hours. The entire journey was a game of chicken, with at points 3 or 4 trucks filling the width of the 2 lane road. Both of our drivers, they changed half way, were mad. Seems to be a running theme,taxi drivers and bus drivers all having death wishes. We think it might be a macho thing, there seems no other reason. There was another western couple and ourselves, we were all relieved to get there.

Quy Nhon has a great long beach, as good as Nha Trang, and thunderous waves crash into the sand. Our hotel was right on the beach and the noise was impressive. Out at sea a whole city of lights appears at dusk with the huge numbers of fishing boats on the horizon.

There are not many tourists here and you do get looked at a fair bit. Getting around you might as well ignore the LP as it is totally out of date. One of the entries only existed for 6 months back in 2008 according to Barbara who ran one of the places which is in the guide and does exist. We had some good local beer and some pasta at her place, along with her getting interrogated on lots of things by us, sorry Barbara.

We had two meals at a random place called Bon Thit Nuong in town mentioned in Trip Advisor. Great food and service although we needed a local to guide us on how to eat some of it. There was no menu, just meat or vegetables with cold noodles or rice. It was pretty basic and very cheap. A starter of sorts, two meals and 2 beers came to 1.50 pounds between us.

During the day we went for a long hike around the city to see the sights and ended up seeing three funerals. Normally this would be odd thing to do I admit, but here they are spectacles in themselves and you cant really avoid them. Much like us you get what you pay for and we saw three different ones of varying expense. The grandest was almost like an episode of Monkey, a man dressed as a pig fake fighting a painted masked man with a stick, playing out the theatre on the street with a supporting cast of 20 odd people, and a clearly very important group of Buddhist monks providing the key words. It went on for an hour on the street and in the house with fairly incessant music and drumming. Then a band strikes up which is quite Mardi Gras and they all get in trucks, vehicles and coaches and go off for the burial. The whole neighborhood turned out to watch and were encouraging us for the best vantage points. The best bit was at the end when another funeral procession then collided with the one we were watching and the street turned into complete chaos, even the locals were laughing.

We found out later that the bits we were seeing were actually the end of the process. Five days of music and other traditions happen prior to this stage, not always good if you are a neighbour. In our hotel later the party continued as a large group from the funeral were singing karaoke and consuming a few beers. Turns out the funeral was for somebody from Vietnam Bank, so I guess bankers are liked somewhere.

The only disappointment has been the weather as its been stormy and on off rain. Such a shame as the beach would have been stunning in the sun. Regardless of the weather we really liked the place, and its worth getting off the trail to see it.

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