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Vung Tau Kapow!

VIETNAM | Thursday, 1 January 2009 | Views [1841]

New Years Eve; no countdown no fireworks. Kind of how I like it. Vung Tau’s two stretches of dirty beach remained serene in the new hours of 2009. No-one was around, not even the big hairy rats stirred. It was low key.

Vung Tau is a popular beach resort 80km from Ho Chi Minh City. It couples seaside scenery with sprawling modern hotels all kitted out to take the hordes of weekenders dragging their weary selves from the 9-5 week of Saigon.  It has a few expat centered Western style restaurants, but other than that amenities certainly are lacking. The best amenity of all, however is the strange people this place unearths.

“Good town Vietnam!” A sprightly Russian sailor kept muttering in my ear soon after purchasing a few Saigon red beers. In this town it seems only a handful want to see in 2009, two English tourists and Lenin’s number 1 fan.

Ready to go to bed after a few large Tigers gurgling in my belly and the tired exhaustions of a heated exchange between lovers, it is only fitting I bump into such a fellow. “Where you from?” he asks as I stumble past him avoiding his steely cold war gaze. His bright orange Nike jumpsuit has don’t talk to me written all over it but its 2009 and in the silent moonlight I somehow have to feel it. All the Vietnamese have gone to bed, and only the bia-hoi’s remain open. The night is quiet apart from a faint trickle of motorbike traffic along the wide coastal road. It’s this man’s company or a night that could feel like any other; toothpicks at dawn and grating voices. “Happy new year” he says in a rough Baltic accent and offers to buy us a drink.

So there we are; a merry three enjoying the wild first night of 2009. Conversation stutters along and eventually turns to politics. The man makes a repeated gesture to illustrate his Nostradamus like quality to predict the downfall of America in 2012. “tschhhhhhhhhh” he says while bringing down his outstretched hand. “America 2012 tschhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. Quite an insight from the tangerine tsar.

That’s all it is in Vung Tau though. A few bars, a number of restaurants, two stretches of dirty beach. A pleasant sea breeze masks the smell of barbecues and roasted flesh. The temperature is soothing, rather than the mugginess of Saigon and a walk along the marble paved seafront is pleasant enough. But one and half hours hydrofoil’s trip later it’s not somewhere I’ll be missing tremendously.

Tags: beach, new year, vung tay

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