Apocalypse maybe in a little bit - Nha Trang (part 2)

Vinpearland is essentially a water park with some knock off Disney characters thrown in for the little ones (probably singing that Mickey Mouse song from Full Metal Jacket).The food was atrocious, so avoid that if you can – but I imagine that, it being an island, the billionaire owner has something of a monopoly, and it wasn’t really a picnic sort of place. One bit of practical advice: do actually listen to the lifeguards on the top of the rides. One of the best rides is a giant slide, and to go down you sit in a large inflatable, resembling a paddling pool. Anyone who has been to the new Centre Parcs in Woburn Forest will have experienced similar (albeit on a smaller scale) on The Tornado. Anyway, in Vinpearland, you have to select your reinforced paddling pool, carry it to the bottom of the start of the ride, hook it onto a winch and a guy at the top raises it as you climb the stairs. This little bit of effort on your part makes the ride so much better as you really feel you have earned the exhilaration. We were a group of seven ‘lads’ and when we got to the top we were told that the ride was only for six people. The mutual bond of exhilarated childishness overtook concerns for safety (a good marine never leaves a man behind) and we pushed past the lifeguard whose fevered protestations we should have taken much more seriously. As it turns out the weight of the extra person on board caused our craft to sail dangerously high to the edge of the slide. Vietnamese safety precautions seemed lacking here and at many places, the slide was open wholly above the horizontal. On several occasions I could have sworn we went aerial and nearly plummeted off the side. It got so bad that people were falling from the top of the vessel when we went up a corner and landed on the person sitting opposite them. So organise yourselves neatly into groups of six. Another good ride was the half pipe thing, so go on that as well. As always the lazy river was rubbish; but what are you expecting? It’s something you have to do.

If waterparks aren’t your thing then there are generally lots of Russians knocking around offering diving courses. I didn’t partake for fear of not having enough popular culture references to diving for when I told the anecdotes later. That’s a lie – I ran out of money, and anyone who’s sat through Thunderball will know that there is at least a twenty minute sequence of Sean Connery fighting off some SPECTRE shits with harpoons. 


Holiday diaries-
Phu Quoc, Day 8: Today was a hectic day. We went to the airport, only to realise that my mum had forgotten everyones passports at home. Although it was super distressing, my cousin drove them down JUST in time. (My mum was literally arguing with the check in people to let us through). We only made it because the flight was delayed- luck was with us!!!! After a short 45 min flight and me sitting next to a little stranger boy, we landed in Phu Quoc. We then had to go on a 45 min bus ride to the Vinpearl Resort. AND IT WAS AMAZING.. The pool was humongous, there was a beach right behind the pool, and even our rooms were of pristine quality. There were fluffy pillows, a balcony with a beach view, and in the bathroom there is shaving cream, bath foam, etc etc. In the bathroom there’s a shower and bath tub, both seperate. With the bathtub, there is sea salt scrub and heaps of other rad stuff. I’m also living in their robes too…. Woops. We went swimming, and capsized when sitting on a donut floaty, then went to a rad buffet dinner. After, we went on a hubby to vinpearland (where there’s an amphitheater, waterpark and theme park) and watched a water light show. Then, we went to the theme park and went on the carousel, bumper cars and this revolving swing!!!!!! It was great.

Apocalypse maybe in a little bit - Nha Trang (part 1)

‘Don’t you think it’s a little risky for some R&R?’ and other forced, clichéd references to popular culture.

You know that bit in Apocalpyse Now when they get to that bridge and they find utter carnage: there are people firing into nothingness, I think there are flares being set off by renegades– ‘Who’s the commanding officer here, soldier?’ – you know the one. Nha Trang by night slightly resembles this. I recall the guidebook saying that the place was a ‘heavyweight’, and the combative undertones are not to be ignored. It is not nightlife to be taken lightly. Some of the travellers in our hostel were nursing bandages after rubbing locals up the wrong way. Another evening, a petty argument with a barman led to a full-scale evacuation of the vicinity after knives were drawn, although I fear that we might have been writing in a scene from Kidulthood into our otherwise Inbetweeners trip. To my sheltered home-counties mind, I thought that the insistent question ‘where’s Charlie?’ was testament to the permanence of Hollywood rather than a yearning for narcotics. I found Vietnam to be the most interesting of the Southeast Asian nations to travel through; but Nha Trang has a certain grittiness about it that can be quite unpleasant.

With that being said, there are a couple of exceptions. The first is The Sailing Club. Tarnished with the label of ‘an institution’, it feels a bit like that restaurant Sandy Cohen opens with Jimmy Cooper in The O.C. For the homesick, it is the closest thing you will find to Embargoes in that part of the world, but it is on a beach. I thought it was pretty cool at the time, and to be fair it probably is, but I don’t want to be judged as tasteless if you go and find the cast of Ex on the Beach dancing to Pitbull, which is a very real danger.

The second is Vinpearland. It had a legendary status in the hostel. Some had returned with amazing stories of the lawlessness of the place: ‘you weren’t there man!’ It automatically had appeal derived from the fact it was an island. It’s as if it were a bonus level in the video game travellers in that part of the world are playing. This was a feeling that was only reinforced by hearing that to get there, you first had to survive the crossing. I’m not particularly good with heights at the best of times, and was quite frankly shitting myself upon finding out it was a cable car. I think I’m fairly justified in having little faith in Communist era engineering and it was a daunting sight to see the pylons stretch out over the South China Sea. However, safe to say my concerns were put to bed when I saw that through what can only be assumed as post-colonial guilt, the French had got Poma to install a nice télécabine.