Vung Tau – Ned Kelly, op la and fishermen’s boats
Day two in Vung Tau (I wrote this a week ago) and I find myself sitting in a place called Ned Kelly’s. Actually it’s called Ned Kelly’s 2 and is a bit nicer and better situated than the first. Now why would an Aussie travel across the world just to sit in a place called Ned Kelly’s, a place that couldn’t be more Australian than if you called it g’day mate. Truth is I still can’t do Asian breakfasts and my hotel breakfast was gruel, gruel and more gruel – the horrible, clumpy, gluggy rice breakfast dish also know as congee or bubur ayam. So I looked for a place along the coast with comfortable chairs, good views and that would serve a decent banh mi op la (baguette and eggs) and ca phe sua nong (Vietnamese white coffee) ….. a nice compromise between what I wanted to eat while still acknowledging where I was. That’s how I find myself at Ned Kelly’s .. the op la is superb and the coffee is hot and steaming ….. better yet the view across the harbour is delightfully Vietnamese.
I sit there looking at all the blue and red fishing boats sitting in the harbour of the "front beach" …. fishermen potter around their boats in stuttering little runabouts, one man rows a little boat while another, in a similar boat, uses both feet to row as if in some gym rowing machine. In front of me parade a series of Vietnamese couples cruising the avenue looking at the sites.
Around me I see a mixed crowd, two blokes talking about work, a Vietnamese family, the expat owner and his Vietnamese wife and a couple of what must be old diggers talking about Long Tan.
I return to my op la and the fantastic view in front of me. I try to ignore the modern art building that looks like a slightly crumpled much more metallic version of the opera house but it’s hard to ignore. It’s not particularly ugly but this modern art ferry terminal just seems horribly out of place – a sign of Vietnam’s future where they see Singapore as their ultimate role model. I find myself quite liking Vung Tau despite the fact that everyone I talked to about the place wasn’t a fan. It’s no Bali and the beaches in the main part of town are crowded. The town itself is quite interesting and it has superb roads running through town, along the coast and around the large hills in the area they call mountains. It has good cafes and restaurants and decent hotel. A great place to visit especially if you’re on a bike.