Vung Tau – First impressions

We caught the Saigon-Vung Tau Hydrofoil. A futuristic looking fast ferry that is Russian built. Like all things Russian, (in my experience) it looks magnificent at 100 metres and tragic close up. The Vietnamese don’t help as repair and maintenance doesn’t feature beyond keeping the engines working.

Screws and rivets rusting out, few light globes working, bits of timber falling off everywhere and all of this moving along at maybe 60 kph. An accident waiting to happen.

On this occassion, all integral parts maintained close formation and we arrived at Vung Tau 1hr 15 min later to be met by two regiments of small people all shouting something that sounded like Taksi!!

I’d forgotten about the standard Vietnamese marketing ploy of harrassing the shit out of people from several flanks at once until they fold and buy something. We succumbed and caught a taxi to the Ettamogah Pub.

Any Australian, or any other westerner for that matter, should drop in at the Ettamogah Pub. Run by Alan and Anh, (Aussie and Vietnamese) the place offers a bolt hole for frazzled travellers. No Vietnamese Marketing Assaults allowed inside, the food is good, the bar girls bad very good and Anh is always keen to help Aussie Vets looking to go to old battle scenes.

Any vets reading this site should be aware that going back in time never really works. Nothing is the same. The town now has a population of about 200,000; a two lane highway leads to Baria and the back beach is now a resort site with kilometers of hotels and bars removing money painlessly from tens of thousands of tourists.

The Flags, the site of thousands of drunken RVs, no longer exists. The Peter Badcoe Club has gone although the pool was only recently ripped out to make way for another jerry buily hotel.

In short, I recognized nothing at Vung Tau – it was as if I had never been there before.

I’m hoping for better results tomorrow when we go to look at Baria, Nui Dat, Long Tan, Hoa Long, Phuoc and all points inbetween.

Until then stay safe and enjoy your Christmas

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