Thursday, December 17, 2015

Away was all we knew: Thoughts from Nha Trang


I think I don’t hate Nha Trang. 

In fact, I loved my time there. I spent at least a few hours each day on a lounge chair at the beach. 
I went in the evening to avoid the sun. Since the beach faces east, by 3:00 pm the sun is hidden behind the city buildings. I loved listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves. Watching their perfect crescents as they peak and crash into themselves reminds me of a crescendo. On the first day I was too enchanted by the waves to concentrate on reading. I kept looking up from my book and watching the sky change colors. Watching the sea change colors. 
It really is green, I thought. Emerald green. 
On the second day I was already used to my surroundings so that I could focus on reading a book while enjoying them. I picked up Toni Morrison’s book, Home. While reading at the beach, I took a photo with my phone which displayed the top half of my kindle, my toes, the sand, the water, and the sky. The text of the book I happened to capture read:
“their own deprived life in their thirties.
 Me and my brother slept in a freight car for a month.
Where was it headed?
Away, was all we knew.”

Nha Trang was a fascinating place. Nearly everything was in Russian. It took me a while to realize it but once I did, I couldn’t help seeing Russians everywhere. Most of the white people on the street spoke Russian, there was Russian music playing from the bars that lined the beach, some signs were only in Russian, not bothering with Vietnamese or English.

I went on a night walk, just as I wanted. The beach was very well lit so I did not have the experience of hearing the ocean and not seeing it. Instead, I could see the ocean but not hear it - the waves were drowned out by the sound of pop music emanating from clubs. My seven-kilometer walk the first night was pleasant, though I got rained on a bit.

Both nights I ate two amazing dinners at top-rated restaurants in the city. It was a splurge but I was glad to pay more for a memorable meal. I feel like I have had so few find meals in Vietnam. I was tired of the three-item menus with noodle soups. I also splurged at Thap Ba hot springs and purchased a package that included lunch and an outdoor massage. It rained but I was covered by a grass roof. It was the first massage I ever received outside. I closed my eyelids to the sunlight. When I opened them I watched tiny drops of water fall from the edges of the grass roof.

Jan. 10, 2015 Nha Trang, Vietnam

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