Nha Trang: Beyond the Beach    

View of houses along the river
The road from Dalat down to the coast was beautiful-- winding past forests, fields and greenhouses full of vegetables and flowers. It made us sorry we were leaving Dalat and the Highlands, especially when we climbed a hill where the clouds clung to the forests like spiderwebs.

Road from Dalat
Nha Trang is a beach city and touristy but the beach is so long it isn't overly crowded. We could see islands from the beach. In the evening the locals took over the beach playing soccer, having picnics and enjoying the coolness of the evening air.

View of islands and hotels

Game of beach soccer

Vendor walking up the beach

Men play a game next to the beach
One area was full of families flying kites. Parents stood with their children teaching them how to get the kite in the air or helping them with the string.

Families flying kites
As we were walking down the beach we found a big grasshopper being tossed soaked by the water creeping up the sand. Rowshan saved it (from the sea and the torments of local boys) by taking it to a grassy park. Rowshan joked that maybe it was a locust and by saving it we were actually giving it the opportunity to give birth to a flock of locusts which would terrorize the farmers.

Our friend the grasshopper
Our first full day in town started with a rainy morning. This was a good thing. The pouring rain cooled things off-- at least until the sun came out heating the air until the atmosphere felt like an out of control sauna.

We walked in the rain to the Dam market. It is a circular building. The inside has clothing, tacky trinkets, and some electronic stuff. Vendors sold food and souvenirs in stalls surrounding the building. Most of the food stalls closest to the building sold dried seafood and dried sea life souvenirs.

egetable seller at the Dam Market

The dried seafood section of the market

My friends went to Vietnam and all they brought me was this varnished lobster
Another part of the market sold ceramic cooking equipment. We saw them unloading a truck by tossing the pieces down. Broken pieces were scattered around the truck. We aren't sure if they were damaged by the ride or the unloading procedure.

Unloading pots from a truck

Ceramic cooker for making Vietnamese pancakes
After walking through the market, we turned down a small residential street. The rain continued. The street was narrow and lined with houses. People ran small businesses from the first floor. We stopped at a little coffee shop-- just a couple plastic tables under the roof in front of the house. We got delicious Vietnamese coffee from the smiling, friendly owner.

Our favorite cafe owner in Vietnam
Rowshan was taking photos of people as they went by. It was a quiet, relaxing, and pensive place with rain pattering and the blue peeling paint of the building across the street. A cyclo driver who Rowshan took a photo of came into the shop. We couldn't really speak much but everything seemed cool. The owner knew a few words of English. He brought out a caged bird who sang when Rowshan made whistling noises.

Cyclo driver at the cafe
After we finished our coffee we continued on the road which got narrower until it ended at some stilt houses on the river. Beyond, low mountains rose capped with clouds. Closer to the beach, there was a bridge where people set out trays of fish to dry them in the sun.

Sharing a meal next to the bridge

Fish drying

Lion statue gives Tamia a high five

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