It’s midday and we’re on a boat with about 40 other people from all over the world as well as Vietnamese holiday makers cruising the South China Sea. Our cruise guide introduces himself like he’s a compere for a reality TV show with microphone in hand and sub-woofer turned up, as handsome Tony. And so begins an enlightening day with “same-same-but-different” handsome Tony. What’s that guitar doing up the back of the boat?
We’ve disembarked for some snorkeling at one of the rocky islands. The beach is a spread of large, rounded pebbles. Slimy and slippery under water. The water is finally a clear blue like all the travel brochures promise (with photoshop retouching!). It’s the clearest we’ve sighted in Vietnam so far and colourful tropical fish swim below us in and around the coral. Another world. A beautiful world without waste debris floating by as it does closer to the city.
We went on our cruise with our English pals which was fantastic. The kids were delighted to see each other again and have another opportunity to hang out together.
Second stop, a bite to eat with food set out on the boat: rice, tuna fish, beans, carrots, prawns, soup and watermelon. After lunch it was time to “make happy together” with a bit of LOUD karaoke (that’s what the guitar was for plus a drum kit). Three boats came together to liven up the tranquility of the sea with, sorry I just have to say it, obnoxiously deafening karaoke coupled with quite weird and wonderful dance moves by handsome Tony and his mates. It was head shaking what-is-going-on-here kind of stuff. Got to laugh at their karaoke passion.
But it didn’t end there! That was the warm up to a full scale “let’s make happy together” with a makeshift bar and some wine (aka metho with a sweetened edge). The handsome Tony guides, as I’ll collectively call them now, jumped into the water from the top level of the boat, LOUD music screaming, unrestricted dance moves occurring and a succession of inflatable tubes thrown down into the water below. Well, before I knew it all the kids (and Steve) were up on top deck jumping off the edge into the magnificent South China Sea. What unrestricted why-the-heck-not fun!
PS and yes dare-devils Billie and Dacey led the jumping charge!
Third stop, a resort with an amazingly impressive and exotic pool. It cost us an additional 100,000 Dong to enter ($5 each) but well worth it. The kids discovered a slide and other water fun. There was also a bar that hugged round an old tree. Sometimes the backpackers life changes in the blink of an eye even if it’s only for 1.5 hours. Lap it up we did.
A great day had by all with handsome Tony and co. I’m sure it’s a day the kids will remember. However, tomorrow might just top it…
Our English mates have persuaded us to stay one more day to have some more fun together at the biggest theme and water park in South East Asia called Vinpearl. It’s their equivalent to Disneyland. We hadn’t planned going – but, well, we thought about it and changed our mind! That’s the positive of not being committed to an itinerary as a backpacker – flexibility when you want. So we simply adjusted our final weeks’ plans and we’re staying put in party place Nha Trang for one more night.
PPS Billie said to me tonight as we were walking back to our hotel after dinner, “mum, can we also change our plane ride home? I want to keep going.” I think she’s got the bug.