The ride north from Nha Trang was quite beautiful. Someone had told me that Club Med had been negotiating for a chunk of this land, and it was believable. The Aussies had told me that the small guest house I was looking for was just a short distance from a big, abandoned, half-completed hotel right beside the highway. I found that landmark easily enough, but couldn't find the guest hotel where the Aussies had stayed. I asked at an attractive beachfront restaurant right behind the construction site, and was encouraged to sit and eat -- I would be shown the guest house later. The young Vietnamese waiter, who introduced himself as "Miew", and whose English was quite good, insisted that I rest first, then he would take me to the guest house. I explained that it was difficult for me to relax until I knew that I had a place to stay. Miew offered that I could stay with him, instead. This didn't appeal to me. I left the restaurant, bicycling slowly back the direction I had come, wondering how I couldn't spot a guest house, especially given that nothing in Vietnam seemed to be farther than 50' from Highway 1. I ignored the "Hey You!"s that came from some of the shacks, and slowed down to a crawl. Suddenly Miew pulled up on a motorbike, and pointed out a small garage-like structure just across the railway tracks. Sure enough, it said "GUEST HOUSE" -- but in letters only 4" high. This guest house looked more like a one-car garage. The concrete building had three sets of closet doors on one side, and it was literally 10' from the tracks. Miew was apparently still on duty at the restaurant, and he headed back after I promised to return there after arranging a room. I approached the three women squatting outside the building, making the universal sign for sleeping, tilting my head against my hand. They nodded, and opened up one of the sets of louvered doors. Inside was a single bed, a plastic stool, and a small table about the size of a milk crate. No sink, no toilet, no light for that matter. There was a small oil lamp on the night table. "Toilet?", I asked. They pointed around the back. "Shower?", I asked, making washing motions. They pointed around the back. I asked how much, rubbing my fingers together. They each said something -- in Vietnamese. I made motions with my fingers. One flashed back with seven fingers; another with eight fingers. I signaled back with seven fingers. We had a deal. I removed my panniers, placed them in the room, and used my bike lock to secure the door. I bicycled back to Miew's restaurant. Beers were placed on ice for me, the food was good, and I was farther north than a day ago. I was feeling pretty good. I got my diary caught up, read a bit more of the Stephen King novel I was stretching out, and went out on the beach for a swim. As I was heading back to my guest house, Miew invited me to come back to the restaurant in an hour and have "sweet soup" with his grandfather. I was introduced to the gentleman, and accepted his invitation. Apparently Miew was part of the family that ran this restaurant. I promised to be back soon.

The scenery was beautiful.
Great photos were easy to take!
Even on the beach, the boats looked like toys.
  Next: a special evening...  
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