Yesterday was all about water – everywhere.

In the morning we went on a SCUBA trip on a reef near Nha Trang. Tom is certified; I am terrified. He went on a “real” dive; I went on an intro dive.

We both saw lots of cool fish and other creatures in the water and had a great time. The dive company was amazingly relaxed, but also attentive to our needs and to safety. We even got a traditional Vietnamese meal when the day was over. It was fabulous.

By the time this trip was over, the rain had begun. We cleaned up and headed out for a beer and some dinner early, umbrellas in hand. Although we chose to travel here during this time because it is NOT yet monsoon season, Mother Nature does not seem to have received this memo.

In a previous blog I reported how in Saigon we watched, in horror, as the street under our feet filled with water and cockroaches displaced from a flooding sewer. Well, this time we watched the flood happen from an awninged restaurant about four feet above street level.

The rain started slowly but didn’t seem like it would quit. Soon the puddles on the sides of the streets in the corner in front of us touched, and then the corner flooded completely.

Meanwhile, life went on much as usual, with people whizzing through the puddles on their motorbikes, and in their cars and tour buses, which inundate Nha Trang on the weekend. In fact, at least four large tour buses unloaded passengers at the restaurant across the street from ours; this was convenient because the buses waited while the tourists ate, so we were able to gauge the rain depth from the water level on the giant tires.

The street swelled with water more and more, and we watched in amazement as people STILL braved the flood on motorbikes. By this time there was easily over two feet of rain in the street, and motorbikes were flooding and stalling. Locals and tourists alike watched the scene on the street unfold, pointing and commenting when a bike stalled, a taxi sent a massive stream of water into the stores lining the streets, or when some poor soul had been caught without an umbrella or poncho. We took a lot of photos of this event – few of which even come close to illustrating the awesomeness of it. Here are a few:

Pretty sure we wanted to rent motorbikes – just NOT in a river!

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This guy was ready to make a buck… this was before the rain REALLY started.

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Too bad this was the street within minutes:

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By the time we ate, played a little pool, and had a couple of beers, the rain had slowed down and the street was almost clear. We honestly thought we would be swimming back to our hotel, but it really was quite shallow by that time.

Tom and I have both commented a lot about the resilience and “nothing phases me” attitude that seems to prevail in Vietnam. Life here is not so easy, but you just don’t see people here sitting around and moaning about it – they just seem to roll with what comes and find a way to solve problems and move forward. The Vietnamese appear industrious and practical; to consume on a minimal level; and to help us realize how lucky and easy we have it in the U.S.

Tomorrow I’m going to visit a local orphanage to meet some kids, and today we’re going to check out a place called “Crazy Kim’s” where a notorious Nha Trang woman wages a war on child abuse from her bar. There’s a lot to see and do here – far more than I imagined.

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