2009 World Cruise – We sailed three days between Shanghai and Nha Trang. I managed to fight off a cold during that time by spending a lot of time keeping toasty in bed and reading. I skipped dinner a couple of times, John brought me breakfast and lunch a couple of times and I pretty much kept to the cabin.
We received an email from our son the day after we left Shanghai. At the time we were on this cruise he lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The ship was scheduled to spend two days in Dubai March 29-30. We had already made arrangements for him to come aboard one day to visit, tour the ship, and have dinner with us and our friends. In his email he asked if he could bring a guest and included the information he knew we would need (citizenship – American. Name – Carrie. Occupation – artist/art teacher. Passport number – no idea and I wouldn’t print it if I did) for the ship’s records.
We were quite surprised by this as we did not even know he was dating anyone. But we dutifully applied for a visitors pass for her and then had to await the ship’s arrival in Dubai to meet her. (She is now our daughter-in-law as they were married in 2013 in a castle in Scotland.)
We have had quite a lot of rain and cloudy skies lately so it was very nice to wake up in Nha Trang and see lovely blue sky. All the blue, red and white boats in the harbour were very picturesque. Until a few years ago Nha Trang was a sleepy coastal fishing village. The government and private investors have transformed it into a thriving beachside resort-town with a gorgeous beach promenade several miles long. It is a very popular holiday spot for the Vietnamese and is gaining renown among international tourists as well.
We had a morning tour of the countryside where we had various stops to walk around and see things. Our first stop was a farm on the outskirts of town where the women make mats out of rushes. The elderly folks help spin out the rushes into ‘thread’ and dye them the three main colours – red, green and yellow.
They use a loom and two women can make four 8′ x 4′ mats per day. They trade the mats or sell them to support their families. I even made a purchase here; I bought four place mats to use at home.The farmers here plant three crops of rice per year and a different crop during the other three months. Then we wandered around a brickyard. I think this is the lunch shack.
A recent widow (her husband died of a stroke 4 months ago) allowed us to come into her house (she would have been paid a significant amount of money from the tour company which helps support the extended family of 10 people that live with her). The largest room in the house was the altar room where the ancestors are worshiped and honoured.
The kitchen had a packed dirt floor, rough wood walls and a tin roof. The walls and roof were full of holes. I have no idea what she would do in the wet season. There was a cupboard with a lot of blackened pots. No sink, no stove, no fridge, no storage. The bedroom was a patchwork of different size beds placed end to end and edge to edge. And, the most fun stop of the day was at a kindergarten. Again, the school would have been paid to allow this which helps pay staff and other costs to run the kindergarten. The kids were thrilled to see all these foreigners and had big smiles and blew kisses. So cute. After visiting with the kids it was back on the bus and back into town and back onto the ship.
The local artisans and vendors had set up shop at the pier so after we returned from our tour we had lunch then took a wander around before settling on the deck with our books until dinner and we set sail for Kemamam, Malaysia – a day at sea away.