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Vietnam - China Beach

After we left Hoi An, we pretty much followed the coast line a couple hundred miles to Nha Trang before going inland. This is a section of China Beach. Nearly every American serviceman eventually got liberty here if they survived long enough, or at least tried to. It doesn't look like much now, but it was a happening place during the war. It was also a clearinghuse for journalists to get together to try to separate fact from fiction. The biggest sources of fiction were in Saigon and Hanoi. Since this is halfway between, it's about as far from the source of fiction as you can get and still be in Vietnam.
You would be amazed by how often I saw people breaking rocks with sledge hammers, and how many rocks they managed to break. The pile of rocks you see in front of Jacques was made with nothing but the tools you see in use here.
I mentioned the ubiquitous use of moto-bikes for hauling children. Here's an example, although I saw much younger children all the time.
The coastline from Hoi An down to Nha Trang was beautiful, and there were nice beaches galore. If you're a beach person, you could do quite well to just go into Nha Trang, Vung Tau or any of the other beach towns and just veg out for a few days.
This is from the oceanographic museum in Nha Trang. This is living coral. I'd never seen it alive before, and was surprised by how beautiful it is. Of course, now that I've seen the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, I'm aware of just how ignorant I was 2 months ago.
This little bugger is about the size of my palm, and can kill a man within less than a minute with a single sting.
This is a rock fish. It looks just like a rock, and if you step on it it's very bad news. The guide had us try to count the rock fish in a small aquarium. It was devilishly hard to do even when we knew what we were looking for and had only a very small area to check.
This is a traditional Vietnamese musical instrument that I heard quite a few times. It's unique feature is that it has only one string. The artist grabs hold of the lever with the left hand. The string goes down from just above his left hand to about 2/3 of the way down the flat. It's played by either plucking or rubbing the string or combinations of the two; along with wobbling the upright piece around. All in all, quite an interesting instrument.
More biking photos. This is Etienne.
This is a typical Cham tower. As you can tell, it's built from bricks, and not all that great of bricks at that. That explains the lack of lasting Cham monuments.
This was the most vocal and approving bunch of kids for my toys of the trip. Somewhere along the way, I figured out that all I needed to do to have a bunch of people to chat with is pull out my camera and/or computer. It works every time, 100% guaranteed and some of my best conversations with Vietnamese people started out that way. This particular group in Nha Trang was the most vocal and appreciative of the whole setup of the trip. They would still have me there hanging out and showing them the photos on my computer if they had their say. This particular group was a school group on a field trip or a holiday.
You see a lot of this kind of communist propaganda all over the place. The communists are big on propaganda. I was in Saigon during a celebration of some kind of communist holiday. Just about every shop in Saigon ended up sprouting a small Vietnam flag. That all seemed very patriotic until I found out that they are required to do so, and the police actually have people come to each business and check for the presence of the flag. Owners are fined if the flag is missing or of insufficient quality and prominence.