A birthday booze cruise and an intoxicated evening at The Sailing Club

Pill and I really could have done with breakfast this morning so it was just typical that the bus arrived 30 minutes late to take us down to the harbour. The mini bus was full of ‘older’ Vietnamese people who were not exactly dressed for a boat trip so this didn’t bode well for the expectations Pill held for a sun-filled, fun-filled birthday. However our fears were allayed when we got to the harbour and approximately 20 other tourists were already waiting on the boat, along with possibly another 100 on similar boats owned by alternative tour companies in Nha Trang.
We set off on the May Linh boat for Mun (black) Island, and were immediately entertained by our amusing guide who talked excessively about kissing and strip shows and the fact that he was single, and liked to use the phrase “same same but different” at the end of all his gags. I haven’t been on a boat trip on the ocean since I’ve been travelling so it was beautiful to see the huge mountains rising from a piercingly blue sea. The sun glistened on the surface and fish were jumping out of the water, creating ripples in the calm sea. At Mun Island the boat stopped for an hour and we were able to go swimming and snorkelling. Once we’d swam far enough away from the boat, the water was both very clear and very deep. There weren’t a huge amount of fish but the coral was spectacular. Of the fish I did see, those that caught my eye were the following :
  1. A Moorish Idol (I know the name of that one because it was in ‘Finding Nemo’)
  2. A fish with a white head and large black eye, a black body and a saffron coloured tail
  3. A long aquamarine and blue fish with a large snout
  4. A flat round yellow fish with a black splodge on it’s body
  5. A large turquoise and green fish

If anyone knows the names of the other fish I have (badly) described, answers on a postcard please . . . (i.e leave a comment at the end of my blog)

We then got back on board the ship and stopped for lunch close to a lobster farm. Considering we were right on the ocean I expected to be eating a bit of fresh seafood, but there wasn’t a squid or crustacean in sight and eating rice and soup with chopsticks was rather interesting. Following lunch our strip show we’d been promised turned out to be the crew of the ship forming a band (a tambourine man, a guy on drums made from empty steel containers, an electric guitarist, and our guide as the singer who’d managed to take off his shirt but nothing else, fortunately) and performing tracks such as Yellow Submarine and Waltzing Matilda. It finished with a dance off to The Twist, where our guide dragged willing (and unwilling) tourists up onto his makeshift stage.

By this time Pill and I were thoroughly enjoying the day. Everyone was a lot more relaxed and we all began chatting enthusiastically to one another. After ‘the show’ our guide introduced the inpromptu ‘floating bar’ where we were all served fruit wine (in fact I think it was Dalat mulberry wine) and floated around in rubber rings upon the ocean, drinking and sharing conversation with our newly made companions.

We also visited Tam Island, where we had to pay 5000VND for the priviledge of sitting on a very dirty, very shingly, very overcrowded beach, and Mot Island, where we visited the floating bar again whilst the Vietnamese visited the Aquarium. We said goodbye to people when the trip finished around 5pm and promised to meet up with a lot of them later at The Red Apple for Pill’s birthday celebrations.

It was certainly a birthday I wouldn’t forget : one of those nights where you’re still piecing the events together the next morning. We ate at Cafe Amis and met Laura and Sam and another girl called Emma (although I’m not quite sure where we adopted her from) in The Red Apple. Emma’s friends Tasha and Neil bought Pill a bottle of red champagne and as soon as the staff at the bar discovered that it was Pill’s birthday, she was plied with drinks all night, which we all helped her to consume.

The night was going fantastically, the staff were even doing some funky choreographed dance moves in the street to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, when all of a sudden there was a huge crash, sparks flew across the road and the whole pub went silent. One of the staff (a cute Vietnamese guy in a funky t-shirt and baggy low-slung skater jeans) had stuck his leg out whilst dancing and meanwhile a motorcycle driver on the road had not given him a wide enough birth and had run straight into the guy’s leg, knocking him to the ground. The motorcyclist had subsequently come off his bike and the bike had skidded along the road with him underneath it. Surprisingly I’d not seen any motorbike accidents until I got to Dalat (apart from the unavoidable waterbomb induced ones in Phnom Penh over new year) and now I’ve seen three (although the other two were only minor) in the space of three days. The guy from The Red Apple was taken to hospital (I’m still not sure what happened to the driver of the motorbike) and returned an hour or so later, hobbling badly and with a huge bandage on his head, blood still visibly seaping from his wound.

Pill and I left the others at about 1am to head down to The Sailing Club for a bit of a dance. We walked in and we were at the bar about to order a drink when a blond Danish guy sat at the bar placed two cocktail buckets in front of us. He said he’d ordered too many and needed us to help him drink them! In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have accepted a drink from a random stranger, but then everyone’s a random stranger when you’re travelling and it didn’t seem to do us much harm – apart from getting us hideously and hilariously drunk. We chatted to the Danish guy and his friend for a while before getting rid of some alcohol induced energy on the dance floor.

The rest of the evening (or rather, morning!) is a bit of a blur. Lots of dancing and having our photographs taken with people we accosted on the dance floor and trying to escape the drunken affections of the Danish guy’s friend. We left The Sailing Club when it closed (at 4am) and stopped for more drinks (although I don’t quite know how I managed to consume any more alcohol) on our way back at The Red Apple, which was still open. We ended up going home in a cyclo, although this was no ordinary journey : Pill had hijacked the cyclo from the driver (all amicably) and was cycling me around the streets of Nha Trang, pointing out shops and restaurants and random objects as if they were tourist attractions.

Photo to follow.

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