Phan Rang

By the time it got dark my cab driver had helped me locate a livable hotel on the beach. To my disappointment, the hotels along the beach were inclusive resorts far separated from the city of Phan Rang. The only evidence of local business here was 5 or 6 tin roofed shacks lined up across the street from the hotel. In search of some local atmosphere, I left the safety of the resort and visited some of the shacks.

across from the resort

The first one was quite tranquil inside with things like an aquarium and a motorbike decorating the room, and a TV set to a local station. The bartenders kids and husband eventually came out and sat on the couch to watch the TV while I enjoyed a beer.

The next place was bland looking however fairly filled up with tourists, I saw several bottles of hard alcohol on the wall so I figured maybe I'd be able to order a mixed drink here. While looking through the menu the owner of the place started asking me questions in Russian, after I responded in English his face lit up with excitement. He explained that he wasn't so good with English because hadn't had an English speaking customer in a long time, but got across that this was something worth celebrating.

While I continued to look through the menu for my mixed drink, the owner was off bargaining with some Russians that had just bought a bottle of rum. Eventually he came back over with the rum and poured me a shot on the house, he pointed back at a table near the entrance and a group of 4 waved at me. While the owner stood over my table, I attempted to order a banana smoothie with a shot of vodka in it. We went in circles for a couple minutes on this while I tried to get him to understand, eventually I gave up and decided to just buy the whole bottle of vodka. After a little while the owner came back over and invited me to visit the next night, he said to show up early and that he'd be having a house party later. I didn't want to offend, so I acted interested and thanked him for the free shot before escaping back toward the resort with my bottle of Hanoi Vodka.

Russian people's rum
My banana smoothie and Hanoi Vodka

Back at the resort I thought I'd try the pool and see about getting another beer or two in me before passing out. While I examined the pool area for a spot to place my towel, a lady bellowed out something in Russian toward me. It was the same group who's bottle of rum I'd ended up drinking from in the tin shack. The girl waved me over to sit down with them, I felt this could be incredibly awkward but it could be even more so if I turned them down. The lady poured me a shot and then a conversation with little or no comprehension took place for upwards of 20 minutes. Everyone would take turns trying to ask something in English, maybe something about Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hollywood or Obama, and while I tried with no success to return understandable answers, they kept pouring me shots and feeding me shrimp until I was slurring my speech. As this went on, gradually the girls husband got more and more irritated looking until he couldn't take my presence at the table anymore. The guy put his hand out to shake my hand and then yanked me off of the lounge chair I'd been invited to sit down in.