So, I am sitting here in Flamingo Suites HaVan in Nha Trang, sipping on a Saigon beer and watching a canton pop performance on TV, and life is pretty great. It’s pretty great in spite of the fact that one of the dudes in the boy band I am watching has the exact same hair color as me (unnatural blond), and in spite of the fact that I have a strange rash breaking out all over my body. So far, Vietnam has been ahhh-mazing, let me tell you why.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh city late last night, 1:00 a.m., and finished the paperwork for our visa on arrival. As I mentioned earlier, I used myvietnamvisa.com to secure me and B’s travel visas for Vietnam. We selected the urgent option and received our acceptance letter via e-mail. We brought the letter, the name list with our names on it, and the visa application form. Super easy and the company is great. One thing I forgot though was $25, and only had RMB. The guy at the counter said, “OK, 300 RMB”, that is actually way more than $25, which would be 160 RMB, but I really wasn’t in a place to argue, so I forked it over. Finally, we were freed from the confines of immigration and set out to find a bed for a few hours.
We made the mistake of talking to the guy with a car that wasn’t actually a taxi and paid too much to get where we were going, but at that point, I did not care. However, anyone traveling to any foreign country probably knows that you should always take a legitimate taxi when possible (as you may know by now, I don’t always make the best choices.) Long story short, we made it to our destination on Bui Vien Street, and had three glorious hours of sleep.
The hotel we stayed at is called Hong Han Hotel. It is cute, new, clean, and the guy at the front desk is super nice. The area is interesting, well what I saw if it anyway, at 2:00 a.m. it was filled with people, travelers and locals, eating, drinking, and picking up last minute partners for the night. I wish we would have spent more time Ho Chi Minh, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
We arrived in Nha Trang at 8:45 a.m. and took a taxi into town, about 20 minutes or so. We didn’t have a destination yet, as our room wouldn’t be ready until 2:00. We sat at a nice restaurant for breakfast, meanwhile I Googled “armpit, inner forearm, thigh rash,” and after a short time was convinced I had shingles. We took a short trip to the hospital, found a really nice woman to translate for us, and I was given two prescriptions. I did not have a clue what the diagnosis was, or what the medication would treat, so I Googled once more, and inferred that the doctor thought I had some allergic reaction and gave me an antihistamine and a steroid. Well, at least I don’t have shingles (maybe? hopefully?).
We then went to our hotel, awesome by the way, and plotted out our next move. We decided that the mud baths would do us both some good, especially me with my increasingly rashed body. It turned out to be the best decision of the day. The place is called Thap Ba, and it is definitely one of the gems of Nha Trang. For 1,000,000 Dong, about $50, we both got a mud bath, mineral bath, foot massage, and hot spring bath. It was super relaxing and helped my rash tons (sorry to keep saying “rash”, I know, it grosses me out too).
So now I will drift off to sleep, hoping tomorrow I won’t have shingles anymore, dreaming dreams of blond canton pop stars.
P.S. I have noticed that a lot of my search referrals come from creepy search phrases such as, “old men kissing young girls,” and “where to get a nasty hot massage in Shanghai”. I guess it is my fault for the way I word things, but seriously, WTF?