Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Vietnam (14) Day 11 (8.2.2012)

Here is the italian ice cream parlour at night selling little messyfish's favourite chocolate ice cream. I too learned I could get a tea or a coffee. So we were both happy to come here for a visit. We both loved sitting in the great big chairs and being off the street. I could actually stare into space for a moment and relax and enjoy.
We went to get some more of those orange ice blocks first thing, but the shop was closed. Little messyfish was very disappointed, so we came back to the hotel, and caught a cab down to the main tourist town. He dropped us off right out the front of an italian ice cream parlor. Little messyfish devoured a chocolate ice cream in a cone that cost $2. This western diet of his was costing a lot more than the local street food I was partial too. But he was happy, and we could afford it. It was still cheaper than being at home. I was amazed that the tourist center was quiet and peaceful. It had wide footpaths, and the traffic was much less. I went straight to find that hotel my traveller friend i met in saigon had recommended. I booked the Ha Tram Hotel for $10 a night, from the 10th to the 29th of February. I decided that we were going to give ourselves time to enjoy the beach everyday, eat fresh seafood, fruit and western food. It was not at all sleazy like the guide books suggested. Hey, I had been to Khoa San Road in Bangkok, and this was nothing like it.  Perhaps it was that way after dark. But we were always inside by dark, so I believed it would not affect us. Which it didn't.
 There was a great big wide and long beach promenade, with children's outdoor play equipment. It was broken and hardly safe like we were used too, but I was not complaining by this stage! The rungs for the slippery slide were missing, with just the broken metal pole stump sticking out from the ground. When a child climbed the rungs, they were essentially climbing high above a metal skewer. I was shocked at how the kids playground equipment was the most dangerous thing on the entire beach front. Local mums had it under control though. They took their kids rubber shoe off, and placed it upside down over the sheeskabab. I guess a fall would be broken by the rubber shoe. Though, no parent left the side of their kids. So it was fun for the kids, but hardly relaxing for the parents. I was getting to realise, that I have taken the children's playgrounds and public spaces of our area back home for granted. They are all super safe, many fenced in, so no children would wander, and always safe enough, where the parent did not have to look for possible finger jamming, or hard surface falls. Previously I was not impressed by them at all. With soft rubber landing surfaces on the grounds, with all the equipment being smooth and rounded and symmetrical. I was critical about the fact that they took away a childs sense of responsibility. Like a plastic sippy cup. I had always given my child a small glass to drink from. He had broken one in 4 years. Now he knows to be careful of glass. Its the same with the playgrounds. As we play in the backyard of our farm, he learns that dead branches break and won't support you, that loose gravel is slippery, that one needs to dodge the cow poo, that the fallen tree is a great balance beam, but may be growing moss and be slippery in the wet. These are the things that a child can learn when not in an artificial super safe childs playground. But now, I was travelling Vietnam and I need a break and  those ridiculous playgrounds that I took for granted back home would come in handy right now. I really wanted to find one. A free one. Across the road from out hotel.
There was so much paved area with people relaxing, selling snacks, tourists lounging around, locals resting. I loved the atmosphere. Also, the beach was clean! I was later to find out, that its because the government cleans this part of the beach daily, so as to attract the tourists. It would in fact be just as polluted with rubbish if it were not cleaned daily. I am amazed by the difference. And greatly relieved, that we just further improved our quality of holiday! I succumbed to the reality that I was no longer "traveling", but was now "holidaying". I am going to lounge around and eat tropical fruit  and read books whilst little messyfish watches cartoons on his cable tv and eats potatoe chips and does whatever else takes his fancy.
Dead dog on the beach outside the tourist area. It was great to be up in the northern part of Nha Trang, but the beach was not cleaned by the city, so the rubbish and debris  eventually meant I was to take my beach running child to the cleaner parts in the touristy center.

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