Speaking about the Beach
1. When was the last time you went to the beach? Where did you go?
It has been ages since I last went to the beach, may be 2 or 3 years ago, I guess. I mean going to the beach and strolling (tản bộ) on the white fine sand (cát mịn), not passing by a coastal city and sipping (nhâm nhi) some coffee at the waterfront (khu vực gần bờ sông, bãi biển) only. That time I went to Nha Trang with my friends, and the journey was fantastic with lots of interesting activities of exploration.
2. What do people do at the beach?
For some, the beach is their football pitch, for others, it is the place to sunbathe. People can actually do a variety of leisure activities on the beach like flying kites, go swimming, surfing, jet-skiing, (đi mô tô nước) kayaking, snorkeling (lặn có ống thở), scuba diving, (lặn có bình khí) beach parachuting,(bay dù có cano kéo) wind surfing, or just build sand castles collect seashells, watch sunrises, or go fishing. As you can see, lots of the activities are for exercising and sports.
3. Can you swim? When did you learn to swim? Who taught you to swim?
I don’t know what to say, if I can swim only for a dozen meters, can I claim swimming is one of my skills? I learned how to swim in my third year at university. I live very close to the sea, so close that every night, the murmuring sea waves (tiếng song rì rầm) could lull me to sleep. (ru tôi ngủ) And one day, I went to the beach to practice swimming. I saw an old man floating on the water without even moving his limbs. I thought to myself that with such a skill, I wouldn’t have to worry about drowning, (chết chìm) and I asked him to teach me. I was there with a friend and we both learnt that skill. Now think about the stop in the water when we got tired and need to rest before getting back to swimming. Just like that I swam, and then faced up and floated to rest before resuming my swimming. That floating skill drove away the fear of drowning only, but for the swimming movements, I watched swimming competitions, especially scenes from underwater cameras, and just mimicked the movements and created patterns to propel forward. So you can say I practically self-learned how to swim.
4. Have you ever been night-swimming?
No way. I am not that swimming enthusiast (người cuồng thích bơi lội) to go to the pool at night, and a bigger NO to go to the dangerous sea at night. I want to still get up the next morning, you know, rather than coming to the after life 🙂
5. Are there any problems with jellyfish, sharks or stonefish at your local beach?
I used to stay in Quy Nhon, a central coastal city of Vietnam, and every summer, lots of jelly fish came to the shore. You can imagine they were everywhere in the water, and I could bump into them at any time. Some were benign, (không độc, lành) but some were poisonous, and guess what if you were stung by a red venomous jellyfish, (sứa độc) it would be both itching and painful at the same time.
As for sharks, a couple of times they came close to the shore, and some incidents of shark attacks were reported, in which one case happened to a lecturer at my university. The shark sank their razor sharp teeth into his arm (cắm hàm răng sắc như dao lam vào tay ông ấy) leaving a jaw-shaped bite in his upper and lower arms when he was folding is arm in an attempt to use is elbow for defense. People said that the fish farms not far from the shore were the culprit (thủ phạm) to attract sharks to the shore when the leftover (phần thừa) from the fish meals contaminated the sea water with something, like blood smell or something unidentified yet which attract the sharks.
As for stonefish, (cá mặt quỷ) I’ve never heard of them in all the beaches I have gone to.
6. Have you ever played sports on the beach? Which sports? How are they different from non-beach versions of the sport?
I used to play football, and volley ball on the beach. The difference is that I have to win the sandy ground before winning my opponents. It is so tiring to run on loose sand. I guess it takes twice the energy needed for playing those sports on a hard ground. Although people may see that they do not have to run the whole big football field since they cannot have that large and long beach, but still, they can feel even more tired playing on that small, sandy field.
7. Have you ever collected seashells?
Yes, I have. It is fun, and some seashells are so beautiful that I can keep to use as a paperweight. But more interesting is the sound I can hear from the big seashell when I put it close to my ear and let the ocean wind sing the mesmerizing song (bài hát mê hoặc) of the mermaid (nàng tiên cá). I heard about that somewhere, but you know, finding the giant seashell is a great moment that can make me feel over the moon (ngất ngây) already.
8. Can you describe a shell that you have collected?
Yeap sure, I remember a huge seashell I collected from Nha Trang beach when I was little. It was shiny and although it was mainly white with dots and stripes (chấm và sọc) of orange, some parts of it reflected the sunlight in different colours. It looked pretty spiky (có gai) and its spiral (đường xoắn ốc) was huge.
9. What did you do with the shells that you collected?
I just cleaned it and put it in on the table in the living room as a piece of decoration. I didn’t have to make much effort to turn it into a unique piece of ornamental display (trưng bày làm cảnh) in my house.
10. What sort of animals live at the beach?
I think some crabs, lizards, and seabirds. The beach is an open area and has almost no hiding place or shelters for those creatures, so they must come with the tide and stay close to the water so that they can run to the ocean for their lives (chạy thục mạng) when danger approaches them. If they do not run like grabs or lizards, they must be able to fly like seabirds, or burry themselves in the wet sand like clams (hến) or mantis shrimp (tôm tít)
11. What is the “tide”?
I guess the tide is the natural phenomenon when water on Earth is under the gravitational force (lực hấp dẫn) of the Moon. When that force is high, we have high tide, and when it is low, it results in ebb tides. (thuỷ triều xuống). Especially during ebb tides, there usually be rip tides which are current of water flowing out to sea. That is the deadliest tide for swimmers if they do not know to swim parallel to the beach to escape the offshore pull. (sự kéo ra xa bờ)
12. Have you ever been on a sail boat or a row boat?
Yes, I was once on a rubber row boat. It was fun and I could learn how to row a boat not to make it revolve around. That kind of activities are usually suitable for the sea, because for rivers, the traffic is quite much so it makes it quite inconvenient and even dangerous when big cargo boats (thuyền chở hàng) pass by a small row boat.
13. Do you think sunblock is important?
Definitely, sunblock (kem chống nắng = sunscreen) doesn’t only prevent sunburn. (cháy nắng) For those who want to avoid skin cancer, they must apply sunscreen before exposing their bodies to the sun. The ultraviolet rays (tia cực tím) of the sun is devastating, (mang tính hủy hoại) and can spread the seed of cancer to us at any time, but at least, we have a layer of protection from a sunblock.
14. Have you ever been to a famous beach?
I was in Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, it looks pretty much like Nha Trang beach in Vietnam: a coconut lined beach, with white sand, and a beach side park.
15. How do you keep your wallet safe while you are swimming?
No way can anyone keep (đảo ngữ vì có No way đứng trước) his wallet safe if he does not go with at least one more person and ask that one to watch the wallet. Therefore, no wallet should be brought when swimming is in the schedule for the hours.
16. Is erosion a problem at your local beach?
Yeah, I started to see the beach get deeper and deeper as time goes by. I guess the government needs to collect sand elsewhere to make up for the sand lost through erosion in Nha Trang beach. I know that the U.S. army once did so before 1975. Now after half a century, two meters of sand has been lost and the beach need to be refilled.
17. Is pollution a problem at your local beach?
Not really, Nha Trang is one of the busiest beaches in Vietnam, so every day, beach cleaners have to clean it up either with machines or with human labour.
18. Should people be able to own a beach or part of a beach?
For public beaches, owning a section of the beach means the owner can set up fences and prevent the outsiders from getting in. That is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard of. I do not see any points in the ownership of the beach of a handful of people that prevents thousands of others from enjoying the amenity of the nature. (tiện nghi của thiên nhiên)
19. How can people have the beach for their own?
As regards private beaches, there will be ways one can own the whole beach, but that only happens when he is the only one who can approach the beach. First, people just need to buy the whole island that has the beach. Second, you know, in areas, where there is no road leading from the mountain to the beach, if you own that land, and build a driveway (đường dẫn vào nhà từ đường chính) from the mountain down to your home or resort, and put a gate on that driveway, you have the only access to the beach and thus can be considered as owning that beach.
20. Why is beachfront land so expensive? Why do so many people want to live there?
The importance of having the ocean view unblocked by other constructions makes beachfront properties (nhà mặt biển) so expensive. People always want to be the first to see the ocean, the first to approach the sand, and those first priorities give exponentially high prices (giá cao ngất ngưởng) to houses lining at the front row on the beach due to their scarcity. (hiếm)
21. Do you prefer a calm sea or do you prefer big waves?
I am not a surfer, a good swimmer or a seafarer (người thường xuyên đi biển) having no seasickness, so I prefer the calm sea.
22. Should dogs be allowed on the beach?
Why not? If dogs are walked to the beach, they must be friendly and used to be surrounded by people and other dogs, so I don’t even think the dog should wear leashes (dây dắt) or muzzles (rọ mõm). This would just add more diversity into activities at the beach and help the dogs and their owners enjoy the beach more.
23. Should cars be allowed on the beach?
I object to (phản đối) the car drive on the beach, it pollutes the fresh air from the sea, and destroy the sandy beaches with wheel tracks. (dấu bánh xe)
24. What do you think of people who swim in the nude?
Being topless at the beach for men is the norm (chuyện thường) but being nude or topless for women is so uncivilized. (không văn minh) It brings people to the status of an animal which is furless. Some enjoy that idea for whatever reasons I cannot fathom, (dò tìm) but I think it is so ridiculous to show woman breast and people’s genitals (bộ phận sinh dục) to whoever else besides their sex partners.