Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 25 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/24/19

Beached in Nha Trang

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   2 comments
Author 4656
Message Linh Dinh
Become a Fan
  (73 fans)
Nha Trang, 2019
Nha Trang, 2019
(Image by Linh Dinh)
  Details   DMCA


Last month, I frowned on those who are drawn to the vagabond, rootless lifestyle, who think it is ideal to move from hotel room to hotel room. Guess what? I've joined them. Life is goofy that way.

After my mother-in-law threatened to stab me more than ten times, I left Saigon and stayed in Vung Tau for over a month. Days ago, I took a 11-hour bus ride to Ea Kly, where I still had my stuff. Arriving at 3AM, I was out of that hill town by 6:30. With a backpack and two bags, I paid $4 to travel 88 miles to Nha Trang, via two vans. You can't even go half a mile in a NYC cab on that.

In the first van, our legroom was severely trimmed by bundles of bamboo rods, laid on the floor. It was a delivery vehicle as much as a passenger one. At one stop, a bag of iced chicken was left at a restaurant, for that day's lunch. A Rade man bargained his fare from $1.25 down to 85 cents. When an old lady got off, she also knocked off her fare by a third, "Ten thousand are enough for auntie." The driver just chuckled. He couldn't chase her down and tackle her to the ground.

For just over $8 a night, I'm well tucked into a luxury suite at Queen 3 Hotel, right downtown. At the reception, I mumbled through my white, pho-flavored moustache and whisker, "How many days do I have to stay to get a discount?"

"There is no discount, uncle. We're already the cheapest."

And they are. In the lobby, four mismatched, ratty couches line one wall, where staff and guests often lie. Wrapped in a mangy blanket, a dark and skeletal young man sleeps dreamlessly with his mouth half open. Next to him on the floor, there's a full ashtray and an empty can of Saigon Beer, lying on its side. It's a war zone, minus the moaning and blood. A sign lists a thicket of rules in Vietnamese and English, including "No prostitutes to bring in here."

The elevator can fit four severely malnourished individuals, stand pressed together, without anyone talking or breathing. There's often some liquid on the floor for some reason, but at least it's not piss. The button panel is held in place with plenty of clear tape, impatiently applied, with even his or her "f*ck it" lingering in the stagnant air, like mist. It's the hotel's motto, to be muttered secondly by all who enter.

I have two beds to myself. Why can't the CIA send me al pronto two or even three Swedes? With nothing to lose, I'm ready to be entrapped. "I love you both equally, Astrid and Ingrid, but one thing at a time, please. I only have four balls and three strikes left." I'm swinging.

Water pressure in the bathroom sink barely exists, and the toilet must be flushed at least twice each time. All fixtures and porcelain are so old, they look suspect even when clean, but hey, I'm in a great location, right downtown. I even have a pseudo balcony that's useful for hanging laundry, which I wash by hands, in the morose, I've seen it all sink. He, too, is on his last legs.

Every shelf tilts outward. Nothing is level in this room, but it's probably better this way, to remind you that life isn't fair. The paint job was likely done by a blind, depressed, arthritic and distracted monkey, but I'm sure he tried his best. All you can ask for is love.

In Brussels in 2003, I had a musty room near the train station, in a hotel mainly patronized by morose and prune faced Arabs. Two years later, my wife and I somehow survived three nights in Edinburgh's Three Sisters, where all through the early hours, drunkards howled, laughed and staggered in the hallway, just outside our thin door. We felt like these blokes and birds were all in the same room with us. Worse, the bed was so lumpy, we had to sleep on the floor. It was a lovely city, though, one of my favorites.

In El Paso in 2006, I paid $35 for a room with no toilet at the dingy Gardner Hotel (where John Dillinger once stayed!). My sheet had cigarette holes.

Compared to all that, my Nha Trang suite is a Medici Palace, and who knows, maybe some Vietnamese gangster once slept here as well.

Twenty years ago, I had my beat-up glasses stolen on the beach in Nha Trang. Life was desperate then. This city is now a stylish resort attracting throngs of tourists, mostly Russians and Chinese.

White T-shirt on a tallish Chinese, "WE ALL START OUT AS STRANGERS." Another dude, "BEAUTIFUL HELL," with a beach scene, crudely sketched in black.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Well Said 2   Interesting 2   Inspiring 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Linh Dinh Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Linh Dinh's Postcards from the End of America has just been published by Seven Stories Press. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.


Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Deranging America

Striking Russia through Syria

Common Dreaming

Postcard from the End of America: Lancaster County, PA

National Nervous Breakdown

Cui Bono After Orlando Pulse Club Shooting?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: