I woke up today at 4:45 am, after a restless sleep fearing I’d miss the 6 o’clock departure of the bus on our beach trip to Vũng Tàu. Fortunately, I did not miss the bus, as we filled the charter and set out to exit the confines of Ho Chi Minh city. The morning traffic was stifling and pretty horrifying, bikes hopped onto the sidewalk to sidestep the morning jam which in turn caused an even bigger jam. Semi-trucks surrounded our bus, splitting traffic lines and swaying ever so closer to hitting us. At one point, the entirety of traffic lurched to a dead stop for a good ten minutes. But we did eventually reach the highway exiting Ho Chi Minh City, where we passed town after town all of which were a fierce dichotomy to the development of the metropolitan area. They were very aesthetically disparate; many houses were nothing more than run down shacks and any businesses along the street were usually in some form of disrepair. Farm animals and stray dogs roamed the streets, eating scraps and giving the occasional disinterested glance to the passing traffic. The presence of bikes had not changed, as people stacked onto them, taking advantage of the slightly more open roads to speed up, going dangerously faster down the roadways. Many of the tenants seemed to live in almost abject poverty, like they were in an entirely different century where civilization had barely touched them. As we got closer towards our destination, we passed rivers upon farms upon rivers, until eventually the resort city of Vũng Tàu came into sight.
Finally, the Pacific Ocean came into view, as a Californian spending almost the entire year in Pittsburgh, it was a sight for sore eyes. Gentle waves caressed the coastline for miles, as a soft breeze tried its best to cool us while we roasted under the intense heat of the Vietnam sun. We stopped the bus at the foot of hill, sitting at the was Christ the King of Vũng Tàu, a large statue of Jesus overlooking the sea with arms outstretched. So ensued the long, hot, and sweaty hike up the 811 steps up to the statue, the path was filled with smaller statues of angels and apostles, as benches of granite held the names of sponsors for the project to build Jesus. Eventually, we reached Jesus, climbed inside of him, and took the stair up to his shoulders where we were met with a gorgeous view of the ocean and city.
So, after marveling at the view, soaked from head to toe in sweat, we left the site to visit a beach resort, where we had a multi-course lunch. Consisting of different types of meats and vegetables, the food was great, different textures and flavours complemented each other greatly. The beach itself was visually amazing, rolling waves softly rose up and down the beach, a clear sky complemented the natural beauty of the area. The water itself was filled with glass, some waste, and jellyfish, and was uncomfortably warm, thus the pool located a few feet from the shore was a much better choice. Two small round tubs flanked a central infinity pool, each one filled with water cooler than the center. Bringing a speaker had allowed for us to make a soundtrack to our groups relaxation until an encoming storm ended our fun and we headed home soaking.