We’ve moved from Nha Trang to Quy Nhon. We book our bus tickets 7 days before we were leaving. We went a couple of weeks before to book and they told us we were too early. They said the bus would pick us up at our apartment. Since our apartment was in a smaller ally we said we would wait outside the travel agents place. The bus was to leave at 8 am. We were to be outside the travel agents at 6:50 am to meet the bus. We got there around 6:30. (Early bird gets the worm…..yum) Around 20 passed 8 a taxi pulled up and asked us if we were going to Quy Nhon. “Yes, yes we are!!” In goes our luggage and off we go. David and I have no idea what is going on but we’re in a cab heading the right way. We think, cool a cab all the way to Quy Nhon. 20 minutes later the cabbie pulls into a bus station and our luggage is transferred onto a smaller local bus.
At 8 am off we go with 2 other people on the bus. There’s a bus driver and the ticket guy. He’s the guy that hops out at different locations and tries to drum up business or so it appears. More people get on as we make our way north. Once in a while the ticket guy closes the bus door because of inspectors or police (we suspect) but for 99% of the trip the door is open. We are sitting right across from the door. It’s a hot day and the breeze is nice. The ticket guy sits on small stools right by the open door. He hangs out the door and is totally comfortable and obvious very use to it.
Around 3.5 hrs into the trip the bus driver pulls over to the side of the road and gets out. He raps on my window and says something. Everybody is getting off the bus. I get up and step down to get off the bus and all the men are standing along side the bus taking a whizz…nice. So I don’t bother getting off, needless to say. Everybody jumps back on and off we go. Pit stop for men only.
We climbed up and down twisting and turning through the mountains following the coast to Quy Nhon. The trip wasn’t without a few near misses as the bus driver weaves his way in and out of traffic both coming and going. The country side was rice field after rice field in the valleys. The fields are a very rich green colour. They look like patch work quilts of different shades of green. We since have found out Vietnam now produces the most rice of any country.
We enter a dirt patch just as we’re entering into a town. Again the bus driver raps on my window and says something. We are here Quy Nhon. Trying to get our luggage and us off the bus with 5 or 6 cabbies trying to get our fare money. Please just stand back and let us off the bus.
We have pre-booked a hotel are on the beach. We get there, check in and we have room 701. Bonus there’s an elevator. We get us and our luggage in the small elevator and press 5??? David gets off and says “the elevator only goes to 5 and we’re on 7?” The answer, “Yes, get off on 5 and walk up to 7” …….oops
Quy Nhon is half the size of Nha Trang but it feels much smaller. There isn’t as much traffic and there aren’t very many tourists. Nha Trang had thousands of tourists. I think the first day or 2 we met all the tourist that were here – about 5 or 6. They are very friendly and we end up talking and sharing stories with them.
We have a new city to explore. We walk around and discover the Co-op…..Vietnam’s Super Store. There are a couple of fresh markets and a couple of fresh seafood markets. The tourist books tell us the main industry is fishing. There are large fishing boats that sit on the horizon of the sea. They don’t move very much. They have small basket boats that go back and forth with the catch. They basket boats don’t come into Quy Nhon but small beaches close by. It was the same in Doc Let.
The city has a large boulevard that runs through the centre and side by the beach. It has coffee shops all the way along like Paris. This French Canadian man said the boulevard here was better then Champs de elysees in Paris. I think that’s stretching it but it was his opinion and his joke.
We are on our last day of a 9 day stay. We had a good look at the city. Most of the tourists we met have moved on to new destinations. Our first few days the weather was beautiful. The sand is a fine golden colour and the sea has a gentle wave. It’s a lovely swimming beach. Then it rained off and on for a few days and then mixed cloud and sun for our last couple of days.
One of the most rememberable experiences of Quy Nhon will be the school girls. They love to stop you and practice their English. They start out, “Hi. What’s your name?” And then they start chatting with you. They start studying English around age 7 or 8. They are so sweet chatting and giggling. Even the schools boys have stopped us on occasion. They drive by on their scooters and wave and yell “Hi. What’s your name?” The people as a whole are very friendly and helpful.
The other thing I will remember Quy Nhon for is the city of small tables and small chairs. So many restaurants have child size tables and chairs. These are normal size people sitting at these small tables and chairs. Even our room has a small table and 2 small chairs. It gets the leg muscles working.
We are taking a 10 am bus to Hoi An tomorrow. We have a hotel room booked for 7 nights. We’ll be seeing my brother Tom there on Sunday and Monday. He is on 2 tours. His 2 week India tour has finished. He’s on a Indochina tour. He started in Laos and now he’s in Vietnam and he will finish in Cambodia.
We are looking forward to seeing Hoi An. The ancient city is supposed to be the most charming in Vietnam. It’s supposed to have the best food in Vietnam. They say it’s the top place to visit in Vietnam. From there we will keep heading north making our way to Hanoi. There are several places we will be stopping along the way.
I have get finishing read a terrific book Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes. Well worth the read.