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The Beauty of Nha Trang

The Beauty of Nha Trang

Nha Trang city is the coastal capital of the Khanh Hoa province.  It is located on the coast of South Central Vietnam.  At first I was skeptical to take the trip to Nha Trang with five of my fellow classmates.  Nha Trang, although very beautiful, is a hot tourist destination and even the former host town for the Miss Universe and Miss World Pageants.  The last thing I wanted to do was head to another busy city on my first weekend away from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City.  Gladly, my skepticism disappeared after we boarded the afternoon train to Nha Trang.  I soon remembered that I had only seen the urban landscape of Ho Chi Minh and no glimpes of the mountain and coastal scenes that I had watched on Top Gear.  When the train passed the first volcanic mountain all I could do was stare out of the window.  I had seen nothing like it before and my desire to go hiking kicked in.  Unfortunately it was getting dark and well, we were on a train.

We arrived in Nha Trang at midnight and made our way to the Mai Huy hotel in an overpriced cab. (it is important to remember fare prices, many drivers are looking to hustle young tourists)  I woke up the next morning and could notice the quiet compared to Ho Chi Minh and the lack of petrol odor.  It was instantly calming.

We hit the beach for the majority of the trip.  For all of us, it was our first time seeing the South China Sea, and for some their first glimpse of the ocean at all.  On day two we had the opportunity to snorkel with the Happy Diving Company on Mun Island, one of the four first marine protected areas in the world. It was difficult to leave the island after such a fun day.  It was my first adventure snorkeling and I even jumped off the second floor of the boat a few times.  The only thing that made leaving worth while was the view of the sky as we returned to the harbor.  The mountains and coastline unfolded as we traveled on the slow rocking waves.  The clouds sculpted the sky in a way I had never seen.  They sat atop the mountains like bourgeois hats at a cocktail party.

The final beautiful portrait of Nha Trang was the morning sunrise.  Instead of a quiet walk on the beach, Will, Pedro, and I joined the party of locals exercising at 5 am.  From what I could deduce, families go the beach early, before work, and to prevent tanning in the afternoon, a very western practice.

The trip to Nha Trang brought forward many emotions:  fear for the unknown in a new city, especially when I did little of the planning (Thanks Ashley!), gratitude to my supportive family, and disbelief that I could afford to come to Vietnam (mentally and monetarily).

In the coming weeks I look forward to starting service learning with a seminary and Smile organization as well as our first Loyola excursion to the Mekong Delta.  It is a goal of my life to serve others.  We will not only be leading English Learning activities, but we will be forming relationships to those unlike ourselves, that is middle class college students of Chicago, Illinois.

I am off to read The Tale of Kieu, written by Nguyen Du, a tale of “lust, loyalty, sacrifice, corruption, faith, and justice.”  This will be the first Vietnamese literary work I read!

Chao,

Stephanie

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