Nothing but culture – less animals, but exciting nevertheless
After breakfast, – yes, we are always writing about food, but these excursions, the climate and the impressions gained sap all the energy out of us – the allday round trip led to cultural attractions. We drove all over Nha Trang and surroundings in two busses. On the way, we stopped at many aquatic shops and also looked at some other pet shops. In contrast to our European shops, the shops here usually have a single focus, so you don't find fish and rodents in the same shop, for example. We also had an opportunity to peak into a few back courtyards and alleys. In this way, all of the participants were able to gain an authentic impression of the country. Many of the structures and law and order we are familiar with at home can also be recognised in Vietnam after taking a closer look.
But let’s finally turn to the places we visited
The Marine Museum of Nha Trang was first on our list. It is a public viewing tank and a research station at the same time. We saw many of the fish here that we had already been able to find during our dives. This gave us an opportunity to learn more details about the country’s marine inhabitants.
After we had visited the first aquatic shops, we drove to a temple site with large statues of Buddha. We were immediately welcomed by girls attending the convent's school there who explained the significance and culture to us. A large statue of Buddha surrounding by urn graves, which are reserved for followers of Buddhism, was standing on a mountain. However, there were also many other gates, decorations and structures and buildings to admire there.
Our joint lunch was arranged to be in Nha Trang and offered typical national cuisine and demonstrated the hospitality of the population.
A visit to the ancient Cham towers provided another glance into Buddhism. Three towers containing an altar inside and situated on a rise with a beautiful view gave us the chance to get to know the country and its culture a little better. Dancers performed cultural, Buddhist dances on the platform, and monks were always present as well.
As we had some time left after our visit to the Cham Towers, we were able to visit a local market just a few hundred metres away. Domestic fruits, small stands where you could grab a bite to eat and items of clothing or household utensils. The noises and the setting were fantastic impressions which were rounded off by the friendliness of the locals.
We made an ad-hoc decision to visit the shrimp farm of our partner, Hai, as they were experiencing problems in raising brackish water prawns for human consumption. With all of the participants, we checked the water parameters and suggested a few improvements for preventing or minimising the problems. The visit of close to three hours was very interesting. We were able to get an insider’s view of a farm for prawns for human consumption and search for other terrestrial animals on the grounds.
We finished our excursion with a visit to a typical Vietnamese market. There were many fresh foods there, stands with clothing and everyday articles. We took in the smells, the hustle and bustle and the goods being offered.
We had dinner in the Dolphin Restaurant in Nha Trang. No, that is not what was served on our plates :) Rather, they served typical national cuisine with many delicacies. After dinner, Bernd Schmölzing gave a presentation on fish losses in sales facilities and related a few aspects to our Vietnamese Workshop.
I would love to always upload pictures and reports immediately, because everything here is very exciting and truly changes many ways of viewing things and attitudes to our hobby, but, unfortunately, that's not possible. After all, we are far away from the mainland, or we are in the rain forest. Frequent hours-long power outages don’t make news reporting any easier either.