Friday, November 05, 2010

Vietnam Holiday Four

Sleep in and wander the streets for a bit, bought some souvenirs while waiting for our transfer to the airport. Getting there and checking in no problem and have some lunch at the very ordinary airport cafe. Darwin airport is luxurious in comparison. It seems that it is unlucky in Vietnamese culture for a flight to depart from the gate it was originally intended to leave from as every single flight had an announcement advising of a change of gate.
Boarded a bus for a short trip to the airplane, a newish A321. Vietnam Airlines have quite a new fleet, well maintained and well appointed. About half the passengers appeared to be Russians. All I can say is, you can take the peasant out of the potato farm but... One would think they had never been on an airliner with seatbelts before, and the smell of vodka was almost overpowering.
Anyhow we made it to Cam Ranh Bay airport, the Russians clapping and cheering at the landing. Seriously, why do people do that? A sense of relief? Was the outcome of the flight in doubt? If so, I missed that announcement. Maybe the Russians were on to something because we landed long, braked hard and used most of the runway. As we taxied clear I noticed we had landed with a stiff tailwind. Found our lift to the hotel ok, the driver pointing out the recent landslides. The day before we arrived had apparently seen some very heavy rain, 300 mm on one day. The beach was covered in flotsam, the road and beach washed away in places, huge boulders having fallen of the cliffs and reduced the four lane road to one in places. Did I mention this is no impediment to a Vietnamese driver? Driving or riding on the wrong side of the road for extended periods is so de rigeur as to be expected.
Staying at the Novotel which is one of the top hotels in Nha Trang. Fantastic gym, steam room, sauna, room ultra modern, service great. We took the lazy option of the buffet in the hotel restaurant.


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