Last weekend, I joined my friends from the Sofitel Plaza Hotel on their staff trip to Cua Lo. It was a fun trip organized quite well by the Oriental tour company. The journey was a bit too long for my liking, taking 8 hours by bus on the way and 9 hours on return due to the crazy traffic on the highway. Besides a small problem with the servise at the hotel, we all had such a great time, swimming, walking along the beach and enjoying the fresh seafood. Having a beer and a massage on the beach is hard to beat.
Cua Lo Beach is just an average beach. It doesn't have the whitest sand and the strong wing could blow anything away even your swimming costume. After 10 mintues lying on the chair, my body was covered with sand and dust plus over 20 sellers crowding around to sell their products, from fresh seafood to massage. I wonder why there are so many of them allowed to do business on the beach. Almost half of them are kids. These kids should be at school studying, not working on the beach selling eggs, peanuts and massage. Mosts of the people working at Cua Lo are from the provinces around Nghe An Province. I suppose it is an acceptable job with a reasonable income that they can cover their daily life and help their families.
In the main street, there are too many hotels around for such a small town. Difference prices are charged during the weekend and special holidays from early in the week because most Hanoians come here for weekend breaks. In fact, in the summer holidays, there are so many people on the beach it is difficult to relax. I liked the seafood market in the town as things are really well organized, there is a great atmosphere and the people there were friendly, insisting that i take their photograph.
We went to Uncle Ho's home town for a short visit. I learned a lot from this visit and had heard heaps about it. His family lived in such a simple house, much like other families did and thanks to the local tour guide, who told us about the history and the life conditions in the old days.
Cua Lo people are generally very friendly and sweet. I'm not sure but maybe the financial pressure of living in this poor province is turning them into very commercial people. Buying things here requires you to bargain harder than other places and they have two different prices. There seems to be a price for right weight scale and the cheating scale. I hate this and I shouted at a lady once as I paid more than my friend but had 200 grams of dried seafood.
Thinking about the beach and considering the distance from Hanoi, Cua Lo is a bit too far for a weekend break. But...been there, done that!