Louis Cooper in Asia: Week 2

Nha Trang is a party town by the beach just below the middle of Vietnam, famous for its nightlife, diving and thefts. As we wondered down to the beach in the morning, which is 1 minute away from our hotel, I was eying up spots to skate later on when it wouldn’t be such a sweat box. The sea was so warm and had a massive stretch of sand, it felt like we were in America but with the odd Vietnamese lady trying to sell us “magic mango”.

Saigon (Vietnam) – Squat walking my way through the Viet Cong Gorilla tunnels in the pitch black, you don’t know the meaning of the word claustrophobic until you’ve been here.

We saw someone going para-sailing out on the water so we got stuck in, it was really cheap and so fun, although you felt like you might get castrated. At one point they drop you in the water, and you think the parachute is going to smother you, but they whisk you out back into the air.

Hanoi (Vietnam) – Nollie Nosemanual in the fresh marble square, where i later slipped out and smashed the sacred vases on the stairs in the back ground, this is the Vietnam pier 7, one good thing that came out of the war.

Later that evening we found these fresh flat bars on the sea front but there were mopeds everywhere. Without trying to sound rude to the locals we asked if they could move them out the way so I could have a session. The Vietnamese generally seem to have a more negative attitude towards foreigners than Laos or Thailand, but its understandable.

Hanoi (Vietnam) – Met a group of local skaters in ‘lenin park’ who were up for games of s-k-a-t-e and told us about the cheap as chips skate shops, although their wheels were the size of bearings.

We’ve met some really cool locals who were really helpful and gave us well good tips about the place. We saw a few local skaters in this square as we were driving past in a tuk tuk but they didn’t seem to be doing much else besides tik taks so i don’t think a game of s-k-a-t-e was on the menu.

Hanoi (Vietnam) – Nollieflip off the Lenin statue stage, hiding from the lurking security guards and rabid dogs.

In the evening Nha Trang livens up with all the bars competing to get the cheapest happy hour buckets of booze, everyone heads to the ‘Sailing Club’ in the evening, which is where its at. There was a small beach party on the full moon which was amazing but only a warm up for the one planned in April in Koh Pang Ngan. The club is bang on the beach, and after, you go to the beach for a late night swim or generally do your own thing. Its proper sketch though because you get these gangs of hustlers who go round and rinse your pockets for wallets, cash etc, so you’ve got to be careful. We got done for a few quid here and there, but nothing to really kick up a fuss about, its just pretty creepy when they surround you and you don’t realise.

Saigon (Vietnam) – One of the savage traps that the vietcong gorillas set covered up with leaves in the jungle, made sure I kept my skater ankles away from those spikes.

Anyway, the next day we went to the notorious ‘Mud baths’ where you all sit in a tub and its filled to the brim with ‘special’ mud. Its pretty chilled, and there is a whole procedure of things you have to do, like hot tubs and tomb raider style spray rooms ect. We did the same thing most evening, eating and drinking really tasty dishes and booze and falling into the late night theft trap.

Saigon (Vietnam) – Saigon has 30 motorbike related deaths EVERYDAY, it is rediculous how many motorbikes there are, they literally play bumper cars as they blitz down crowded streets.

We went on this boat trip round the bay and saw the longest cable car in the world across two islands, only to find out that two people had died the week before because one of the cars fell off into the sea. Anyway the boat was good and we got to go snorkeling and drink in the sea on ring in the ‘floating bar’. We were doing front flips off the top deck of the boat, yet to find out the water was scattered with small jelly fish, didn’t stop us though.

Hanoi (Vietnam) – On the back of a moped during a skate trip round Hanoi, eagerly searching for marble and manny pads.

From Nha Trang we moved south on a 12 hour bus to the capital Saigon (Ho Chi Min City) – here they like to call the city its the original name, sounds better anyway. The street where all the travelers stay is quite like the famous Khao San road in Bangkok but a smaller scale. We hit up some seedy club in the city center called ‘Apocalypse Now’ – I can happily say that I prefer the film.

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) – Riding the magic dragon on the front of our cruise ship round the mysterious ha long bay in north Vietnam.

The next day we went on a day trip to see the Cu Chi tunnels where the South Vietnamese army fought against the Americans and the North Vietnamese, it was really interesting to finally get to see some real history of Vietnam, not just casual bomb craters out of a bus window. We were shown all the gory traps the viet cong guerrillas used to injure the Americans, then walked through the claustrophobic tunnels 10ft underground in the pitch black – it was so hot, sweaty and hardly any air. You respect how ridiculous it must be fighting a war down there with bombs going off over your heads.

Vang Vieng (Laos) – The average menu in most cafes in this vibey town.

After that we visited the war museum which was really worthwhile but had some really dark photography. To liven us up a bit we headed to the famous Dam Sem water park which turned out to be such a laugh, the flumes were much more intense than we had expected and were also a bit rickety. I saw on the poster that they were building a massive vert ramp slide where you shoot off a roll-in into a tube; thats when you really need your board on you!

Bokeo Forest (Laos) – Our house for 2 nights while staying in zip wire heaven, you can only guess what the toilets were like, and what other creatures were living there.

That night I had a cruise in the main square where everyone plays footie and other local sports, as usual it turned into a demo of amazed and confused faces after a little while. We got the bus to Phnom Pen (Capital of Cambodia) this morning and we’ve got lots on the agenda so Ill let you know what the deal is next week…

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