Monday, April 06, 2009

"Don't be jealous...?" My New Ultimate Fish on my New Ultimate Beach

Did I actually write "Don't be jealous..." about my weekend at the beach? Well, I think I should allow you to just feel what you feel.

You remember Nha Trang, the Thanksgiving beach destination? The weekend we couldn't land and had to return to HCMC and catch the dirty train...the weekend of pounding rain, howling wind and a delicious turkey/pumpkin pie dinner at Fran and Ann's house?
We had been told it was one of the ultimate beaches in Vietnam, but couldn't quite see that back in November. Now I know what everyone is talking about. Fran and Ann (they started AIS) invited a bunch of people up for our long weekend, but only two of us were smart enough to take them up on it. We took the sleeper bus Thursday night leaving HCMC at 8, arriving in NT at 7 am. A sleeper bus is just that - two levels of reclining seats- pretty comfy unless you get a berth five inches shorter than you are (which happened to me on the way there).

Fran and Ann have just finished building a lovely home near the beach and offered me the third floor suite all to myself. Ann learned how to make Italian food from Fran's Sicilian mother, so we ate eggplant parmesan, gnocchi and seafood spaghetti throughout the weekend.

We also rented motorbikes for all three days. One day we drove an hour through the hills to a waterfall. And another day, well, another day...

...we rode out to this beach of all the pictures - the beach I am calling My New Ultimate Beach. A No-Tourist Beach. You park your motorbikes up top, then walk down steep steps and choose where you want to sit from about ten stalls, each with a woman server/chef presiding over her section. I'm sure we chose the best one- she was so happy and gracious. When I saw the baby asleep in the hammock, I gestured to her: can I have a hammock, too? and she enthusiastically tied one between two posts for me.
So you sit under the cover of bamboo huts, where the waves travel in and wet your feet (or whatever is hanging lowest in the hammock) every so often, unless you feel like venturing out into the perfect, warm, wavy water.

And then, when you get hungry...when you get hungry, you order fresh seafood from right in front of you and your chosen chef cooks it right behind you in her kitchen.
We ate a kilo of clams and a grilled perch. The grilled perch is something I am now calling My New Ultimate Fish. It came with a tray of fresh vegetables and The Best Dipping Sauce in the World. When I gestured to our woman how delicious I found this sauce to be, she took me back into her kitchen and showed me how to make it. Here is her secret sauce recipe:

little green hot peppers
MSG (yep, they all use it, and it's yummy)

I caught the sleeper bus back Sunday night at 8:30 and was back in HCMC by 7:00 am, just in time to run into the castle, shower, and run back out to meet Nam on the street by 7:30 to get to school on time. I slept like the baby in the hammock on that sleeper bus. I feel so rested that I think perhaps I will grab a sleeper bus to Nha Trang any time I need a really good sleep.
Yeah, so, don't be jealous?
I'm jeaous, and I was there all weekend.


Mungo said...

Come on, Mungo... wake up. This isn't real. >Pinch, pinch< Ow. That hurt. Must be real. Nah, I still don't believe it.

Amy T. (not ona beach) said...

I'm with that guy. You're making this up. You've actually rented a small studio in Georgetown where you read library-borrowed guide books on Vietnam, HCMC, surf the net, buy Catcher in the Rye and lock up your fridge. You haven't shaved in months; probably wear a terrycloth bathrobe... may have taken up whisky ... or even, gasp (the thought!) coffee...

and you continue to spin this web of story to entertain, to toy, ...

Cecilie said...


Brian Bowker said...

I got curious and did some reading on MSG. It sounds like some people have a rare, mild reaction to it, but for most people it's totally safe if it's eaten with (in) food.

I remember the big scare about MSG in the US back in the 90's. I think it was just that; a big scare. So, you'll probably live.

Anonymous said...

OK..OK...OK-i truly thought you had found "IT" about 5x while you have been "THERE"-but you truly just topped it with that story! Absolutely DIVINE and so perfect to read about ON YOUR BDAY! TO ECHO CECILIe-"WOW" IT IS ALSO TOO MUCH THAT THE BABY WAS IN THE HAMMOCK-AND THEN YOU WERE AS WELL! :) YOU ARE MY HERO!!!

Michelle said...

Next time I come to visit you can we go to that beach and have mounds of seafood?

THOMAS said...

Well, next time in Na Trang just ride northwards, cross the big bridge, and keep right. Approx. 4-5 km from the city center you will find a place opposite litte Han Do Island, which can't be missed because of it's huge Swastica at what seems to be the entrance of a temple. At that place on the main street you'll see 3 seafood stalls, of which 2 are simply beyond that earth... 400 m further, to the left, there is a special small hotel I sorted out after 1 full day of Na Trang- scooter-hotel-reconnaissance... The Vietnamese-only-rotunda-like restaurant in front of the "White Hotel" is special not only in terms of architecture... Greetings to Na Trang. I miss it.