It’s Monday morning here – about 9:25am. Usually I would be teaching my first class of the week, but as I mentioned before the school was closed from Friday through today due to the swine flu. Well, we found out over the weekend that the closure has now been extended through next Sunday, August 2nd, as a few more people have been diagnosed with swine flu. So out of the blue, I’ve got a week off!
I just got back from my buddy Anton’s bachelor weekend in Nha Trang last night. I woke up at 4:45am on Friday morning and left about 5:45am for the airport. We flew to Da Lat – up in the mountains – then road bikes (the bicycling kind – not the motoribike kind) about 10km uphill (which was brutal – I’m not going to lie, I ended up walking my bike up some of the steeper hills and felt like I was going to throw up). Then, the fun part, we rode the bikes downhill for about 30km. No exaggeration, the longest downhill ride I’ve ever taken. It was awesome, if a little frightening. I basically went as fast as the bike would go – only braking on curves, and even then as little as possible. I was leaning over and crouched around my bike to reduce wind resistance, and we got up to some pretty insane speeds. We didn’t have a speedometer, but the guy from the bike rental company said they’d clocked someone doing 68mph before. However fast it was, it was fast enough.
After that, we got on rafts – which were really the smaller two-man inflatable kayak-style rafts – and floated the Cai River toward Nha Trang. It was a really nice trip, but the river was pretty calm and didn’t have many rapids, etc. The countryside was beautiful though – on both the bike ride and the rafting trip. I think living in Saigon I come to associate Vietnam as being a dirty, congested, urban place – and here it certainly is – but out in the countryside it’s a whole different story.
We then got in a van and rode the rest of the way to Nha Trang. I checked into the hotel, jumped in the pool for a while, then went to take a shower for our planned night out. I ended up taking a hot bath (the tub was huge and clean and I haven’t taken many, if any, baths in the two years I’ve been here – and I was sore from the bike ride and thought it might be relaxing). I got in the tub and promptly fell asleep – sitting up. Like couldn’t keep my eyes open even if I wanted to type sleep. So then I lay(?) down for a nap around 6:30pm, thinking I’d nap for about an hour or so then meet everyone for dinner and going out. Well, the next time I looked at the clock it was 1:53am. I had fallen asleep with the tv on so hadn’t heard the multiple calls to my cellphone and basically just slept through the night! Oh well, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
(To be fair, I really wan’t feeling well. I don’t want to think that I’ve got the swine flu – and I’m scared to go to the doctor for fear that I do and will end up being quarantined in some public hospital here), but I definitely felt like I had a bad cold or some sort of flu or something all weekend. No energy, easily nauseated, etc.
Anyway, I woke up early – very early – Saturday morning, had breakfast, then waited for the rest of the guys to wake up from their considerably later night out. We met for lunch around noon and started drinking beer then, and lunch pretty much extended throughout most of the afternoon. Then we all went back to the hotel to take naps – my nap ended up being of normal length this time around – and met up for dinner. After that, we went to a bar, which ended up being more of a club (incredibly loud music, lasers, etc.) which is really not my scene at all, so I bugged out about 11:30pm and went back to the hotel. So yes, I definitely won the award for lamest friend/oldest man at the bachelor party, but oh well.
Sunday our flight back to Saigon wasn’t until 7:20pm, so we had all day to mess around in Nha Trang (which is a beautiful place, really. Completely touristy and developed, but the scenery there is just gorgeous.). After breakfast I went out and walked around for a while and found a good used bookstore that had some titles other than the same, standard backpacker titles you always see over and over again in Saigon. I bought Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, and some Robert Ludlum spy novel. I actually started and finished The Road yesterday – it was a very quick read and very well-written. I am a Cormac McCarthy fan anyway and I really liked it. A lot shorter and easier to read than most of his books, though. And not as much action as I thought it might have.
I’ve started reading Into the Wild. I saw the movie and, frankly, thought it was awful. I thought the actor that played the protagonist was sappy, melodramatic, and basically unlikeable – and I thought whole tone of the film (directed by Sean Penn) was pretty much the same way. I have read a couple of Krakauer books before and enjoyed them, so I thought I’d give the book a chance. So far, the book is much better than the movie – but I have to say that the Chris McCandless kid really does seem to be sappy, melodramatic, and basically unlikeable, so maybe the actor in the movie actually deserved an Oscar.
Anyway, we went out for a big lunch yesterday then just kind of cruised around town before heading to the airport. I got home about 9:30pm last night and didn’t do a whole lot before heading to bed.
So that’s it – it’s Monday morning of my 10-day-weekend. Thao’s at work. I’m sitting here drinking a cup of coffee. I have absolutely nothing to do until next Monday except grade the rest of the ComLaw midterms. I’ve graded about 70 out of 210, so about a third of the way through already. They are pretty awful and our students are going to have to step it up if they want to improve on last semester’s 38% failure rate.
That’s all I’ve got. Peace!