Hey kids, do you think sunburn is cool? Then you'll love Jason Vilbig. If you don't think sunburn is cool, then you'll just find this amusing. The reason the beach at Nha Trang is so nice and calm is in part because of the outlying islands that protect the beach from sea swells. So while in Nha Trang we took a four island boat tour that occupied most of our second day there. These tours are popular with foreigners and locals alike, but when they decide which boat we will take they separate the locals from the tourists. This is because tourists tend to like a more rowdy, alcohol fueled tour while the locals prefer the scenic, easygoing picnic style tour. At the beginning of the tour you get to find out where everyone is from and we happened to be the only Americans, let alone New Yorkers on the tour. I like to think we reinforced whatever unfair positive or negative stereotypes the other Europeans and Australians already had about Americans. As one of two people on the boat that actually lives in Vietnam, I have been able to view tourists in a different light and I take their opinions with a grain of salt. The first island on the tour was a stop at a small aquarium shaped like a pirate ship. They actually had some monster sized fish there and a few sharks. The highlight for me was the moray eels and sea turtles, curiously placed together in the same tank. This was not a petting tank thankfully. The island was beautiful and the boat was calm and relaxing. Imagine this boat tour was basically created solely for foreign tourists. I think the most surreal moment for me was when, travelling between islands, they played "American Pie" by Don McLean. Jason is now about four beers deep. At the second island we docked at small fishing barge just off shore from a fishing village and were given snorkels. For some strange reason most of the tourists seemed to be waiting for someone else to lead the way into the water. A Canadian named Matt was the first to jump in, followed by Jay doing a back-flip off the bow of the ship. I was third or fourth in the water, back-flip off the barge. The water was infinitely clear and beneath us we were able to observe coral and an array of sea life.
We stayed here for some time, long enough for us to make some friends and for me to ride a jet ski. There was only one point in which I nearly flipped it when I cut a turn too fast and the nose dipped in the water. We partied on the barge for a while with some of the other tours. I am one beer deep now, and Jason is about nine deep and his back is starting to turn red. The next place we docked was just off some uninhabited island for lunch and a floating bar. The lunch was actually very good considering it was prepared on boat. It included local Vietnamese fare of a more western flavor served family style. Still some of the other tourists seemed hesitant when trying the different dishes. I offered my suggestions as to what I preferred to eat. Jason is now twelve beers deep and still refusing sunblock or a t-shirt. After eating the tour guides set up a floating bar, which only served one type of mystery cocktail, in the ocean and gave us all floats so as we didn't drown while drinking in the ocean. It was a lot like being in a regular touristy bar here except you had to pay attention to how much you were drifting. After a long day in the sun you finish the day on a private beach on the last island. There are reclining chairs and people selling food and souvenirs. After a long day in the sun it's kind of a nice relaxing way to end the day. After some time on the island at around four-thirty in the afternoon we headed back to the harbor. I finished the day at three beers. Jason's tab has been totaled up and the final tally was seventeen beers, not a new record for the boat but still impressive. Also his back is crab red by now. It was the worst sunburn I have ever seen. I like boat rides.