city in the northern part of Vietnam, Nha Trang has a population
of 300,000. Now becoming popular for its pristine beaches, the
city attracts tourists from all over the world.
After a quick breakfast on the Lido deck, we got ready to depart
on our excursion. Our buses took us to the following sites:
- Great White Buddha and reclining Buddha
- The Four Seasons for refreshments
- Handicraft factory at an embroidery shop
The weather was hot and humid, but the buses were comfortable.
We'd gone from about 32º in Seattle to about 90º in less
than a week. The change was brutal, but we plodded on.
Po Nagar Cham Towers
Our first stop brought us to a pagoda complex. We took off our
shoes to enter the main pagoda. Inside, the air was choked with
incense and stifling humidity. But the interior was worth the
discomfort because it was beautiful.
Po Nagar Cham
We climbed up the stairs straight ahead in the picture to the
temple at the top. There, we removed our shoes and squeezed our
way in past tourists who were squeezing their way out. The
interior was stifling hot and the air was choked with incense. You
couldn't stay inside for long without gasping for air. So, we
peeked inside and then made a hasty retreat and walked around the
temple grounds amid the towers
After touring the temple grounds, we took a few panoramic pictures
of the bay and the fishing boats below.
View from Po
Nagar Cham Tower Complex
As we came down, we noticed our bus was not among the other tour
buses. We waited and waited. Well, you know what they say about
idle hands, and lookie here what I found!
Policeman in Pretty Green Uniform
I just had to get my picture with this pretty green uniform. And
yes, he put his arm around me first. The poor thing was smiling,
but his smile faded by the time Dean snapped the picture. Soon
after, our bus pulled up, and we boarded for the next stop.
Long Son Pagoda
Our bus roared across town in heavy traffic to the site of the
Long Son Pagoda and huge White Buddha. As you walk into the
complex, the pagoda is facing you at the center-rear.
Pagoda with White Buddha Presiding Above All
But that's just the outside. Want to take a peek inside?
The next step required a 152-step climb up to the big White
Buddha. This Buddha was built in 1963 to honor the memory of monks
who immolated themselves to protest the Diem regime. As you may
recall, President Kennedy had the CIA shoot Diem and get him out
of the way.
The Four Seasons
Next we headed for The Four Seasons for some refreshments.
Everybody pictured this wonderful hotel called the Four Seasons
with a fine air-conditioned cafe where we could escape the
sweltering heat and enjoy a cool beer or two. Well, we pulled up
to this open-air beachfront cafe instead and you could almost hear
the palpable groan of the entire bus. I told the English couple
sitting across the aisle from us that it was definitely The Four
Seasons -- Hot, Hotter, Hottest, and Unbearable.
After drinking a beer and visiting the filthy bathroom, we took
off for the embroidery factory and shop. The silk dresses,
scarves, ties, and other clothing were exquisite, beautiful in
color and detailed in design. I was a bit shocked at the
sweat-shop conditions the women had to work in. None seemed happy
at all. I caught sight of one older woman with dyed jet-black hair
and a pale face. She looked as though she had spent her life in
that factor and would probably rot there.
At this point, we were all looking forward to getting back aboard
the air-conditioned ship and have lunch. At dockside, some vendors
had set up booths with a wide variety of trinkets, souvenirs, and
some useful goods. Dean bought some fine bamboo placemats there.
Then up went went to the Lido deck for a well-deserved lunch.
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