We hit Phan Rang-Thap Cham ahead of the tourist influx, which turned out to be a good thing because apparently during high season the place is overrun with Russians, who are not, to put it politely, the friendliest of travelers. Fortunately for us, this meant we had an entire resort pretty much to ourselves (admittedly it was a bit run down, but pleasant and clean enough for the price point). Over the course of two days and two nights, we saw exactly one other car parked in the resort lot, and never saw its owners. This lack of activity left plenty of time for the pool cleaning guy and the security guard to spend some quality time together and act chummy in front of the camera.
The seeds and signs of more to come were abundant in Phan Rang-Thap Cham — some of it on its way to success, others, like that pictured here, abandoned to the fauna and flora, awaiting an infusion on hopeful capital. Unfortunately, much of what I’ve seen in Vietnam thus far seems to be stuck in this in-between stage: begun on the upswing of prosperity, frozen by a downswing in global spending.
After renting a couple motorbikes we headed out on an impromptu tour of the Phan Rang-Thap Cham greater metropolitan area. We puttered through a couple of small coastal fishing villages, then wound through the highlands of Nui Chua National Park before cresting a hill and finding ourselves looking down on the whitecap-speckled blue of Cam Ranh Bay, discovering along the way that motorbikes are one of the best ways to travel in Vietnam.