Alone in Nha Trang

I went on wandering by myself in Nha Trang. Black clouds appeared in the distance and I was getting hungry, but I had to find an ATM first. Right as it began raining I went inside a touristic restaurant with an English and Russian menu and ordered beer and spring rolls, looked at the rain from inside and read. People ran outside in attempt of avoiding the rain and some employees tried to turn on a wet grill under a shade. When I got bored I went back to the rain and muddy streets and looked at the shops. salesmen tried to speak Russian with me. Eventually I went back to the room.

 This whole time Roni was sleeping and reading – he bought The Queit American by Graham Greene at a second-hand book store back in Hội An. It was about 4 PM and the rain seemed to stop, so we took our raincaots and went outside. We had hot soup at a small booth in a wet  street corner and then got back again for a hot shower, and as evening came we went to have some beer. We sat at one of those places where you get a small grill and skewers which you fry yourself. The waitresses tapped around with miny-dresses and high heels and once in a while renewed the ice in our beer glasses, and an older woman sat on some corner and gave them comments. On the way back to the hotel we stopped for some yummy ice-cream at a cute small place, and then fell asleep while staring at the TV.

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The next morning, after having coffee, we strolled around the city with no particular aim. After we got some tea for the room at a minimarket Roni went back to the room to rest, and I was looking for something to eat. It was 11 and most places that served breakfast were already closed, and it was somewhat sad looking for food by myself while Roni is sick in the room. Eventually I got to a tiny department store with a grandma who served soup, so I sat there to eat and read Lollita. A man with a Chinese look who spoke English with a heavy Russian accent stopped by to get cigarettes, and talked with me about the book. He said that in Russia they read it in high school, which seemed strange and impressive for me since it’s such a serious and provocative story.

I walked back to the hotel. Roni was sleeping and I sat on the bed and wrote a strange dream about the army I had that night. I fell asleep for 20 minutes and towards 1 PM I woke Roni up and we went to sit on the shore. The waves were huge, and I was feeling a bit blue because I worried for Roni who still felt pretty bad.

Afterwards, back in the hotel, we talked with Quoc about the Easy Riders – a national company of motorcyclists who arrange trips, mostly in the center and South, and you can ride with them on their motorcycles or join with your own. Quoc called his friend, Mister Lam, who arrived in a few minutes and sat with us to plan a day trip to Đà Lạt. Quac said he and his wife might join us and go on a vacation in Đà Lạt, and recommended on a hotel over there. We walked outside for dinner a bit faraway from the hotel, at a buzzing and crowded place that served meats with rice and beer. Just as a bunch of ten grumpy Chinese sat a pouring rain began to fall, and in mere minutes the restaurant – which was completely open under the night sky – shut down as if it was never open. It happened as we were finishing so we paid and waited under a shade together with the rest of the people, and as the rain weakened we went back to the room.

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The next day Roni was feeling much better. We had phở bò for breakfast at a small place where a young woman fried fat worms in lemon-grass and snacked on them like nuts, and after coffee we went to the beach. It was sunny outside but not too hot and the sea was blue and clear, and we spent a few chill hours there, swimming, walking on the shore, drinking fresh coconut juice. Back in the room we showered and napped for an hour, and by three thirty went for another coffee and lunch of soup and rice with meat, morning-glory and loads of ginger. Afterwards we sat at a cafe for spicy ginger-tea and booked that hotel in Đà Lạt Quoc talked about, and talked about what was left back home – memories of us being students together, the jobs we left, friends.

Roni felt weak again so we went back to the room and he fell asleep, and around 7 I went for a walk by myself. I walked on the boardwalk and got into an embroidery gallery, which was beautiful with a small garden where a few women sat and weaved and local music was played. I walked in the rooms and looked at pictures made solely out of threads, some huge and realistic, very impressive. I walked out and kept on wandering around the city, in places we haven’t seen before and didn’t show up on the small map they gave us in the hotel. I looked for a place to sit by myself. Eventually I went into a bar called First Contact, that was a bit empty but had a nice vibe, and ordered crab-soup and a drink they served of vodka with apples. I sat with my book and when I got bored I paid and went back outside. I didn’t really know where I was so I walked around until I saw familiar buildings again. There was a big fight in the street – a small dog was bugging a man so he tried to beat it up with a sandal, and another woman went out of a house and held him so he wouldn’t hit the dog, which seemed amused. There were many yellings and people got involved and separated them. The man left angry with his wife, leaving one sandal on the road behind him and walking with one bare foot. I bought hot corn for Roni at a small booth with a vendor who talked Russian with me even though I knew some basic Vietnamese, and went back to the room. I woke Roni up and we sat in front of the TV as he ate the corn, and then went to sleep.

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