Thursday Feb 18 Nha Trang

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 18th, 2010

Last night I visited with Andre at his bar/Tex-Mex restaurant “El Coyote”. He and Allan Goodman, an Austalian, were building a dock on the shore of the anchorage where I stayed in Nha Trang’s old harbor in 2006.  The floats were destroyed  in a typhoon that hit the area in the fall of 2008. I rode my bicycle out to revisit the anchorage. In order to get to the nice little sandy beach in the anchorage bay I now had to pay 60 cents entry fee. But the area has been cleaned up and there are now toilets and showers on the beach, that would have been very welcome to me in 2006. Just beyond the bay in the old port was a total traffic jam. A Russian-Vietnamese government venture has turned Hon Tre Island into a Disneyland like amusement park. A chair lift carries the tourists from the main land. These last few days of the Lunar New Years week celebration are now drawing thousands of Vietnamese to this kind of entertainment. In 2006 the Russian financed projected, property and labor is bartered to the Russians in exchange of arms, was dumping tons of fill in the bay, without any concern of the environmental impact on the river delta. Now there are fancy country club style mansions filling the fill. A large bill board shows the layout with a marina. But the difficulty of getting a permit from the government for every destination a pleasure boater might like to chose keeps these waters void of any private pleasure boats. The Viet “apparatchiki” are litteraly missing the boat in their paranoia to control the coast line.

You might remember the spectacle of the drying fish on the river banks in my 2006 album. The screens were there but not a single fish being dried. This due to the holiday week. I also revisited the spots where the fisherman were hauling out their boats for maintenance. The ways were empty. Whenever I rode up some of the back streets there were card games going on. Playing for money is against the law but during Tet week the police is looking the other way. I saw this little girl just piling in the Dongs. Usually you only see men playing cards but every one was at it today.

I emptied out the contents of my back pack and hung my shirts on coat hangers for a change. The room is quite nice. I have to twin beds here so if any one wants to come for a couple of weeks and celebrate my 73rd,  and split the $10 room bill.

 

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