How was your bath? I hear you ask.
COLD. It was cold. I turned on the taps, popped in some bubble bath, cracked myself a cold drink and was all ready to get in the bath when my toe realised that this was not the haven of relaxation I was after. Oh dear, the bath will have to wait. Luckily, it’s so freakin hot in Vung Tau that a cold shower doesn’t really matter.
I’ve got one last day of exploring in Vung Tau because tomorrow I head back to Ho Chi Minh.
For breakfast I’ve had enough of eggs, which is basically what I’ve been living off for breakfast and dinner the last couple of days. I’m so sick of eggs. So sick of them in fact, that I throw my freshly cooked ones into the bin and head to the streets in search of a ‘real breakfast’. Bistro 9 comes to my rescue. With an omelette.
It’s a really good omelette though. Throwing caution to the wind, I also order a Ca Phe Den – black Vietnamese coffee. With Ice. Yes, I know, don’t drink anything with ice in it. But you know what, it feels ok here and let’s face it, the hotel is just around the corner if I need to spend the rest of the day there. And besides, it’s delicious.
This morning Uncle G is taking me to the Worldwide Arms Museum. Robert Taylor managed to amass an enormous collection of uniforms, models and weapons from across all wars and all 52 years worth of collecting are now on display here. Entry is 100,000 dong and the museum is set in a beautiful colonial building. An army of handsome male models proudly display war time uniforms of different countries and eras, adorned with massive furry hats, pompoms and pouffs, heavy wollen coats and skirts – all of which would be heatstroke-inducing in this climate.
There are rare firearms, photos and other memorabilia all housed here – quite an amazing collection.
After leaving Uncle G at his apartment, I decide to head out and make the most of my last afternoon in Vung Tau. Despite the oppressive humidity (thank goodness for the cold shower in my room, huh), I stroll down the waterfront in search of Bach Dinh, Villa Blanch or the White Villa as it is known and depending on who you are talking to.
Bach Dinh is a colonial era mansion overlooking the South China Sea and it was built as a retreat for French Governor General Paul Doumer on the site of a former Nguyen Dynasty Fortress. Doumer was an important force in the major expansion of infrastructure in the capital, most notably the bridge across the Red River and he went on to become French President until his assassination in 1931.
The house displays a collection of China recovered from a ship that sank off the coast, but the actual house itself sits in a state of neglect, which is a shame. Though, for 5,000 dong, it is still worth a visit – even if just for a whisper of breeze from above the ocean. The views from the massive windows are fantastic
Tonight is buffet night at the Red Parrot. That also means 2-for-1 drinks. Woo hoo – Jack Daniels coming right up! The buffet is a Western style and is pretty good. The venue is cool too, decorated with flags and a host of memorabilia.
It’s been nice to spend time with Uncle G and I’m so glad that I gave Vung Tau a good few days to feel the vibe and explore without rushed timelines and enjoy chilling out and dining on magnificent seafood, rather than just a night or two. It’s not something I usually do but something that I seem to be gravitating towards more and more – simple things and relaxed time. I still need my days of go, go, go, but relaxing is good too. I must be getting old.