We showed up to Nha Trang in the morning after a long and thankfully uneventful night bus, and thus began our search for a place to stay. Had I still been traveling alone, I definitely would have booked a hotel the night before I arrived, but since I was with the boys, it wasn’t a big deal to show up and wander. We asked a guy on our bus where he was staying, then spent the next hour getting hopelessly lost trying to find it. Eventually we got there and, while hiding Izzie because she was passport-less and technically did not exist in Nha Trang, sorted out our rooms and plans.
There isn’t much to do in Nha Trang except go to Vinpearl Land, a waterpark famous across Vietnam. We decided that was definitely the move, so we packed up our water park gear and put on our bathing suits. Before taking a cab to the park, we had to make a pitstop for Izzie to buy a bathing suit, since she had nothing with her.
Vinpearl Land looked awesome when we showed up. Right away, you’re put on a cable car (which we later found is the longest in the world!) to cross over the ocean to the island that houses Vinpearl Land – yes, an entire island, dedicated solely to a shitty water park that takes up 1/18 of it. The cable car lifts up and then swings down, sort of like a roller coaster, and for some reason it made me so happy that I started crying tears of excitement. This was the first of many times that the fam would see me shed unnecessary but hilarious tears. Oh yeah, and the Vinpearl Land sign is a poor take on the famous Hollywood sign…this is some classy shit, y’all.
We stored our belongings and walked into the park. After wandering through a small aquarium exhibit, we headed toward the water park. On the way, I saw a non-water ride that looked insane and was calling out the adrenaline-junkie rollercoaster whore inside of me. Eventually I was able to extract promises out of Andrew and Chris, but George and Izzie said no and shot me a “you’re fucking crazy” look.
We rode pretty much all of the rides in the water park within an hour, but weren’t exactly amped to re-ride a lot of them because whoever engineered the park is either a sincere asshole or doesn’t have feet and made the steps up to and platforms for the rides out of these super narrow pieces of metal spaced about an inch apart. I swear on my life, walking on that material hurt more than my septum piercing.
Side note: should you ever desire to visit a waterpark in Vietnam, you should know that the common sensical hygiene rules that apply in the first world do not apply in Vinpearl Land. I stopped riding the rides once I saw how many little kids were completely naked and playing in the water; hedging my bets against how long it would take for one of them to spontaneously shit or piss in the water didn’t sound appealing.
Having exhausted the water rides, we went back to the main park. Chris, Andrew, and I got on the ride I was talking about earlier. I felt totally cool about it and was so excited – I had no idea how big of a mistake that ride would be. We strapped ourselves in and pulled the metal cage down over us, sitting basically at the bottom of a pendulum. Quickly, the ride begins to spin and rock back and forth, exactly like a pendulum would. This is fun. I’m having fun. And then, the pendulum swing 180 degrees, so we’re completely upside down, and HOLDS US THERE FOR AT LEAST 40 SECONDS. At first I felt fine, as I was assuming that we would quickly be swung back over the other side. But no. Hanging upside down at least 50 feet above the ground, I began to have a panic attack. I realized my shoulders were much narrower than the chest bar, and my sweat was making my legs slick so no matter how hard I latched on, I felt myself physically dropping out of my seat. Without any centrifugal force to contain me, I was absolutely certain that if the ride did not swing in the next two seconds I would plummet to my death.
As you can see, I survived. But I am scarred. Izzie and George felt no sympathy; instead they cackled at my pale, sweaty disposition. I managed to calm myself down with a few rounds of those carousel swing rides. Which, by the way, are engineered to not hit eachother while the ride is moving. But of course I picked a seat one row from the outer edge, and that seat clanked into me every 20 seconds. I’ve always been a living example of Murphy’s Law, but a Vietnamese theme park was really not a great time to be reminded of that fact.
We returned home, took a nap and relaxed, then went out for the night. We found another Why Not bar, apparently the one we went to in Hoi An was a chain, and started looking over the drink menu. Something in the corner caught our eye:
After lots of dancing and an unusual share of drama, we crashed for the night, ready to head to our next stop: Da Lat.
I had heard from girls I met in Halong Bay that Da Lat is absolutely beautiful. Turns out, it was, and we were all bummed to only spend one night/day there. After discovering that our hotel beds were basically big rectangles of concrete (as in, I sat down on one with my full weight like any normal person does on a bed and it literally knocked the wind out of me), we went out to enjoy a day of excursions.
First up was elephant riding. Needless to say, I cried.
Afterward, we continued around Da Lat by car with a local tour guide. Unfortunately, it was raining, so we rushed through everything like the whiny party-poopers that we all are. We made our way out for dinner, when I made the mistake of taking another amoxicillin because my throat was starting to hurt again. As I’ve mentioned before, these pills sincerely mess me up just by taking one with water, but my dear friend Chris “buffalo-d” me (if you get caught drinking out of your right hand someone can call buffalo and you have to chug your drink) on my beer so I had to a chug it with my pill. This was a big, big mistake.
The fam wanted to explore a local festival taking place outside the restaurant, so off we went. Within 30 minutes, the pill hit. And it hit HARD. I couldn’t feel my feet or mouth or lift my head enough to fully see if I was following the right group of people – I was really just hoping that I was following the right pair of shoes. The boys noticed and kept a close eye on me, but eventually we had to head back because I was Gary-ing like I’d never Gary-ed before. Apparently, I sat down on Chris and Andrew’s bed and didn’t say a word for awhile, then silently got up and laid face first on my bed on top of all of my things. I don’t remember any of this, and when I woke up later, I came back to their room like nothing had happened.
And with that, our one day in Da Lat had come to a very Gary end. Come morning time, we would make our way to our final stop in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh.