Ok so the overnight bus is never really fun, but as it turns out it was the only option. We'd found this out late in the game unfortunately, because our tickets said there was a day option from Nha Trang to Hoi An, but alas, it was only in the high season. As such, we were only able to get the seats "over the wheel" for the 12 hour night voyage up the coast. It was pretty funny too, because Kristine insisted that we march over to the bus company's office so that we could "inform" them that they ought to let customers know of this fact at the time they purchase their tickets so that they don't go and plan their voyage with a leg they think exists. As the Vietnamese speak quite loudly to begin with, it was a pretty funny scene to say the least!
Anyway, we wound up on the night bus, and at least the arrangements at the other end worked out and we had a room to crash into shortly after our arrival. You see, we've done the night buses in Australia, but here in Vietnam, where they drive somewhat like they do in Indonesia, it's a whole other kettle of fish, or bus of prisoners as the case may be. The roads are not as good as Australia's obviously, and this coupled with the fact that all the drivers from the various companies are racing each other up the coast makes for some thrilling moments, and very little sleep. Ahh, the joys of travel. This is perhaps one I could do without, but it is just so darn cheap compared to the other options here, and a few bus trips during the day are worth it so that you simply don't fly over everything - that's no way to see the country.
So the day has finally arrived! Kristine's birthday! Happy Birthday Kristine! I keep telling here that she's luckier than I am because she only has to spend one birthday away from family and friends whereas I am going to be spending TWO! So I should be twice as sad, shouldn't I? It was funny this evening actually (the eve before the actual day) when she pulled out all the cards she'd received in Australia, and some of the photos we are carrying of people from home, and arranged them around the TV in our room. This way, we'll be sure to look at them all as we watch a movie or something. But then, she just burst into tears, as is often the case with Kristine and birthdays, soaking all the photographic participants in the process. However, she quickly recovered owing to the next paragraph...
For her gift, we went shopping! Yea! I love shopping (ughh...)! Well, OK, it is her birthday, and we had forgotten a couple of skirts back in Geelong. Hoi An, in addition to being a beautiful little French colonial town, is well known for tailoring, and there are countless shops that line all the quaint little streets. So we spend an hour this afternoon getting measured up for a couple of new things that will be hand made and then ready for pick up tomorrow. Pretty good service on the whole, and the range of possibilities are huge with the amount of fabric hanging around!
The town really does look like a little French one that you see in all of those movies, and it is much quieter than any of the places we've been in Vietnam so far. The architecture of the place is really well preserved, and everywhere are the humidity soaked butter coloured walls of the various colonial abodes. Really, it's just a good place to kick back and have a coffee and watch the world go by - which is exactly what we plan to do!
And it really was not the last beach at Nha Trang. Yesterday, we managed to rent a couple of bikes again and we biked the 4 km out to Hoi An's beautiful beach. Another brown sand beauty with really clean water. The vendors were a little too persistent, but it was good fun none the less. Today we head up to Hue, where the former DMZ is from the Vietnam war. We have only a short time here before we head up to Halong Bay and Hanoi.