Waylaid in Nha Trang

As you know we were waylaid in Nha Trang due to my morning sickness which was really pretty bad over the last week. I mean it's no big deal really; it's just par for the course with pregnancy. But when we set out the other morning it was just virtually impossible to progress with me having to “pull in”, as it were, every few minutes. I was really in a pretty miserable state so we phoned our lovely guest house in Nha Trang which we'd checked out of less than an hour before saying that we'd be coming back. To their delight. Because they had missed Luca who is treated like royalty here. Seriously. I may have mentioned it before but he is treated like a mini-celebrity everywhere we've been in Southeast Asia. With strangers high-fiving him, coo-ing over him and photographing him. And Vietnam is no exception and in this family friendly, and generally friendly, guest house it's particularly the case.

We stayed at the Ha Van hotel, just a few minutes walk from the beach, which is run by a young Vietnamese/ French (or possibly Québécois?) couple and a host of very helpful and friendly Vietnamese staff. Mainly female. All of whom love Luca. From dusk to dawn he is fawned over, coo-ed at, tickled and playfully teased. A very tasty breakfast is served on the rooftop of the Ha Van and it is here that the daily adoration begins. Every breakfast includes a generous and interesting selection of in-season fruit to include; melon, pineapple, bananas, dragon fruit and lychee but we always leave laden down with bags or baskets of extra fruit bestowed, usually in exchange for a kiss on the cheek, to Luca. The chef is particularly fond of him and always prepares him not just one, but two boiled eggs to take away with him too.

Luca enjoys the attention and playing and is very at ease with the staff chatting away to all of them. Telling them all about the minutia of a 3 year olds days; things like how he fell and cut his knee and going swimming at the beach, etc. His audience seem to think that his incessant chatter is really cute. The street vendors on the way down to the beach all know him by sight and shout "Hello Boy" to which he always waves and says "Hello" back in a kind of a way that suggests this is just normal attention for a 3 year old in his every day life. You know - the usual. No big deal. When himself and Phil were going to the shop the other day a girl pulled up on a motorbike and said: "Hello Luca". She then went on: "I'm from the restaurant". She was one of the waitresses from one of the restaurants here that we ate in one night and she had remembered him. I wonder if he'll find it hard to blend back in to relative obscurity when we leave Asia?

We've all really enjoyed our stay in Nha Trang but will, once again, try to leave tomorrow.... We have a friend who shall remain nameless (but you know who you are Edward Boilson) who motorbiked along Highway 1 a few years ago and said that he ended up waylaid in Nha Trang too. He actually left it once, progressed half an hour away and turned back. So morning sickness cycling challenges notwithstanding there is an allure to this place. Maybe there are some hidden Homeric Lotus Eaters amongst the population here, I don't know, but it is a very easy place to linger for some reason. Everywhere is within walking distance - the beach and a very wide selection of great cafes, bars and restaurants. The livin', as they say, is easy. There's something of a French air to it. But more Biarritz perhaps than St Michel? An old Vietnamese man walks up and down the beach everyday looking to practice his French with Francophones. He had just left a couple of young French guys the other day and headed towards us and posed the question, in French, whether or not we spoke French. To which I replied, proudly, in French of course, that we did but that we weren't French. Anyway we didn't make the grade for some reason. He just walked on by us. I would have loved an opportunity to ask him if he had learnt his French during the French occupation of Vietnam. There are lots of brilliant French restaurants here too. The real deal. French owned, run etc. And in one such restaurant the other night, "Refuge" we all spoke exclusively French all night with the owner as did all of the customers who were all Vietnamese. I loved it of course. But our no. 1 Restaurant vote has to go to "Lanterns" where the Vietnamese fare is divine, reasonable and, what is more, the restaurant supports the local orphanage to include funding university for the children who get a university place. You have to go along early for dinner to secure a table. On our first night there (our second attempt to get a table though) we sat beside an Australian family who were just leaving as we arrived and they said to us that they had just had possibly one of the best meals of their lives there - for 15 Aussie dollars. They recommended the ginger chicken and sauteed water spinach, which I ordered and Phil had the claypot fish which were all yummy. Luca had a penne pesto worthy of an Italian trattoria. And it was very reasonable too. Our entire delicious meal for the 3 of us, drinks (smoothies for Luca and I and beers for Phil) and desserts, etc. came to the equivalent of about 12 Euro.

But all good things come to an end. As well as all bad things. Our time here is looking spent now as my morning sickness has abated over the last couple of days. So we've packed up the panniers and our bikes and Highway 1 awaits. So it's off to explore more wonderful places we go... tomorrow. Hopefully.


At July 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM Anonymous said...

Greetings from Kidmore House! Sounds like a pretty lovely place to linger even if you are suffering a bit from morning sickness... Aine

At July 12, 2011 at 9:16 PM Anonymous said...

Congratulations and keep well..you will have many stories to share with bump,Anne.

At July 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM Niamh said...

It still all looks fantastic !
Shame about the morning sickness , hope it eases soon .We are off to Spain for 4 weeks tomorrow ! Sunny and familiar .
Then back in mid August for exam results - fingers and toes are crossed.
Take care guys .
lots of love Niamh

At July 17, 2011 at 10:25 AM Anonymous said...

hi Linda,

Poor you I remember the bad morning sickness. However I admire your spirit which never ceases to let anything impede it!!!

had lovely afternoon with Kevin and sharon and Amelia and the girls thursday. Kevin is so good with her its really lovely to see.sharon looks great but is tired.
Not surprised everyon loves Luca! g
It will be lovely new baby will be close in age to her...
it will be great as he will never suffer from shyness. You all missed vey much at the family get together sunday!!! Will send email and photos thinking of you all look after yourself love orla

At July 20, 2011 at 6:32 AM Linda de Paor said...

Aine: Thanks EL. We are currently in Hoi An which I know you love and are loving it too. Glad you are having such a great time on your trip & great to be in such regular text contact. Talk soon & see you really soon. Lots of Love, L & b, L & P x

Niamh: Thanks Niamh! Hope you all have a ball in Soto & I have fingers and toes crossed for the BIG results of course. Will keep in touch. Lots of Love, L & b, L & P x

Orla: Aw thanks for lovely comments Or. AM sickness much better now thankfully :) In 2nd Trimester now so feeling good & more energetic. We were thinking of you all on the day of the Big Get Together. Would love to see pics! You've no idea how much I'd love to have flown home for it - esp. to see & hold beautiful little Amelia. I'm in touch with the new folks a lot though keeping up with all of their news. Not quite the same as being there though :( Hope you, Nial & the girls are all well. Luca speaks often of all of his cousins. You'll have to come to Vietnam some day - you'd really like it I think. Lots of Love & big cuddles to Ailbhe & Caoimhe. Lots of Love, L & b, L & P x

At March 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM Ha Van Hotel said...

A big ''hello'' from the Ha Van Hotel staff.

Ha Van Hotel
Nha Trang


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