At the beach - Pt. 2
This is a wonderful pic of my Father-In-Law and my niece enjoying themselves on the beach in Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Now, any resident of Saigon knows that an annual trip to Vung Tau is one of the necessities of life. It is about 90 minutes drive from Ho Chi Minh City, and used to have the much more glamorous name of Cap St. Jacques. Naturally the communists stopped all that, and tried to turn it into a functional fishing village. But Vung Tau's glamorous past was always going to catch up with it, and it wasn't long till it became, once again, a weekend destination for stressed-out Saigonese.
This pic was taken on the private beach. Let me recommend the private beach. The public beaches in Vietnam have almost as many beggars, panhandlers and ruffians as genuine bathers, and if you want to go unmolested, you really should go the private route. It may seem a little elitist, I know, but even my patience has limits - particularly on the beach.
The People's Committee for the Vung Tau area was always a lot more lenient than that of Ho Chi Minh City, and as a result it became something of a religious centre - monks discovered they could establish monasteries relatively unharassed, and so the road to Vung Tau is littered with literally dozens of religious institutions of various stamps. It can be a fascinating trip for anyone interested in religion.
Ironically, Vung Tau has also became THE place for Saigonese to take mistresses/boyfriends etc. for dirty weekends, and the mid-priced hotels along the beach do a roaring trade in star-crossed (temporary) lovers.
For the most part, Vung Tau has nothing much to offer the average Western tourist save some warm, muddy water and some excellent seafood restaurants. But spend any time in Saigon and you'll soon be invited on a trip to Vung Tau - for whatever purpose.