Qui Nhon Days

The neighbor in Qui Nohn

Five hours on mini-van mad roads with a crazy driver could be more attractive than eight hours on a bumpy bus. Considering the quality of the seats and the amount of the fare, I was quite pleased, at peace and not confrontational, even though the thing left an hour late. That’s until a locked horns with Little Mussolini , the pushy  attendant on the minivan.

The beach road lined with beautiful parks and hotels under construction

“Hey kid”, ”I smiled in my best Vietnamese. “I was born with these longer-than-your legs. If you are spatially challenged I’d suggest you take it up with my father and mother.” I laughed but he scowled. We frowned at each other intently. Maybe it’s a Vietnamese thing that replaces fist fights or duels.

When we rolled into Qui Nhon. I walked over to the small transport dictator, shook his hand and thanked him. I think I scared the shit out him but we both gained a great lesson in packaging.

The cab driver was another sort all together. Mr Smiles. Great human being. We chatted away in my bad Vietnamese, that is certain to improve tomorrow or Tuesday next. He was happy because his friends owned the small homestay where I had the good taste to book three nights. He was happy about life.

She doesn’t look happy but she was a riot. Smacked me on the butt when I passed by the table.

Lan Anh Homestay ($14) sat toward the end of the beach road. A short distance away was a nice looking new roundabout that no one used. The old way took you right downtown and that’s where everyone, who is anyone, hangs out. These people were in no hurry. The roundabout may have been built for some future expansion. Hotels were going up like weeds.

Melvin Toole inhales a dinner of grouper enhanced by cutting edge beer in a bucket of ice technology. According a man in the bar it is a Vietnamese invention. Before the Chinese were here,” he added. Either way it works well. The gem of the dining experience was chao hai san – a delicious seafood porridge.

The room has a small balcony with plants everywhere. Next to it was a small Buddhist temple. May mat (lucky) choice. The host, a college student, was more than attentive. The I’ll buy if you fly solution worked well since Tung had a motorbike and I had a touch of the gout. (Beef pate with rice whiskey on my porch prior to leaving for Quo Nhon).

Seafood restaurants (hai san) dotted the street. They advertise Live Seafood and do a brisk business on fruits of the sea and other fresh delights.

Vietnam is a very young country. Here is the delightful staff of the rousing restaurant where I enjoyed lau ca (seafood hot pot) with my friends.

I have yet to hear a car alarm here or in Hoi An. Plenty of kareoke but no intrusions of the digital conspiracy. It appears virtually crime free on the Central Coast. One never sees cops. No violence. Smart people. Lots of them. Considerate and engaging. What a stark change from my country where everyone seems annoyed with everyone else.

No Trip Advisor – How Can we Survive? These folks have other fish to fry. In fact the only Westerners I met were on ride back, Jacob and Christine two lovely people from Czech Republic.

I’d like to go on but my rum is aging quickly in this climate and I must away!

May We suggest
Saigon-Qui Nhon hotel pool. Use of pool, weight room, sauna (if it works), towel, friendly people. Cost 20,000 Dong (90 cents). Right across from the beach in the middle of town.

The transport company itself was in fact very together. On the way back to Hoi An a young employee walked me to my ride and asked “Are you hungry?” We had five hours to go on the road. Had I said yes he would have run off and brought me noodle soup and then watched me slurp it smiling at his ingenuity with this foreign “grandfather”.

-Ming Toole

Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk


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