Brian and I took a snorkeling trip today in Nha Trang and went to a few different islands. One of the women working on the boat was wearing a t-shirt that said "Vietnam - The Smile of Asia". I have to agree.
At first, I was struggling a little bit here. I think it was because we started in Saigon where everything was amped up to a level of frenzy that my travel weary mind and body could not cope with. But now that we are near the ocean, in cities and towns with a little slower pace, I am feeling quite at home and welcomed by the Vietnamese.
My impression so far of the people is that they love to laugh, joke and tease. The have huge wide smiles and bright eyes and seem to enjoy life fully. They like to nap a lot and there are hammocks just about everywhere in case a one comes on! There are all of these cafes that have tables, chairs and then 4 hammocks around the tables for when the meal is finished, seems pretty smart to me :)
They are fantastic cooks and the food is full of fresh flavors and colors. Here are the staff making our lunch on the boat, those are yummy spring rolls, some of the best we have had on our trip so far.
There are a lot of fishing communities all along the coast of the South China Sea and many of the fishermen use these cute "bowl boats" (see last post) to tool around the ocean with, setting nets, etc. They are so cute how they bob in the ocean and twirl around :)
Here is a good tour to take, It's the "Sanest tourist" boat. It wasn't ours unfortunately..
The snorkeling was incredible, I can't remember the last time I went snorkeling like this. The diversity of the wildlife under the sea was overwhelming, plants and animals. I think the coolest thing I saw was this huge purple starfish that looked like this. Brian saw a school of squid and we both saw many fish just glowing with fluorescent stripes and shapes. We were regretting a little that we didn't go snorkeling at the Gili islands off of Bali, but you live and learn...
Here was our amazing lunch. They prepared and served it all on the small boat, pretty nifty.
So the guy in the middle below was one of our tour guides. I was talking with him for a while while Brian was sunning himself upstairs about Vietnam, fish, coral etc. and then out of the blue he said:
"Did you know I am the most handsome man in Vietnam?"
"Um, no I didn't know"
"Do you think I'm the most handsome man in Vietnam?"
"What religion are you?"
"Not really any, maybe slightly Buddhist?"
"We are partners then, I am Buddhist too! So who do you think is more handsome, American men or Vietnamese men?"
"They are too different to say"
"No, you tell me"
"Um, my husband is the most handsome man"
"No, I am the most handsome man."
"Oh, you are quite confident"
"Oh yes, I know I am the most handsome man"