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Vietnam...

..day 5

semi-overcast 27 °C

…and I’m beginning to think it’s a myth…there is no wind here…despite all the locals telling me “unusual for this time of year”!. Thankfully, whilst it is raining, it’s no where near as wet as last time we were here, and if I read the forecast right, the weekend onwards looks dry and windy. We will see I guess.

Despite no kiting, the first few days have been fun. It seems to be an altogether different experience being here this time. For one, there are actually other people here…although it’s not what I would call busy. On our arrival we booked into the Hoang Kim Golden resort, which we found online before arrival. It was really nice, with a semi-decent restaurant (despite breakfast, see previous post) and pool. However in true style, the building work woke us up at 6am, and it was only in the daylight that we were able to see the place was only half finished.

After an afternoon lying by the pool…while construction workers layed bricks, mixed concrete, randomly hammered things very loudly, all around us…we decided on a move.

We found a place right opposite where we stayed on our first trip here…the Nam Khai Resort…which has a clean room with AC, hot water, cable TV, for 10 bucks a night….perfect for what we need. Perfect that is until 6am the first morning…seems someone is building a house about a foot from our room window. There is construction going on everywhere though, so I figure finding somewhere quiet is going to be impossible. Ear plugs will be put to good use I feel.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kim’s friend Candy joined us for a few days on her way north to Hanoi. On the first day she suggested we rent bicycles and go check out the local fishing village. Seems everywhere rents bikes here, but we were lucky enough to find the ones with rock hard seats and 21 gears of which 2 were functioning if you twisted really hard on the gear knob and held it there. This gave you 2 very useful options of either having your legs spinning at 200 rpm whilst going nowhere, or having to stand up and force all your weight through one pedal just to get the thing moving, whilst praying that the chain didn’t give way and you’d land with a thud on the aforementioned rock hard seat (only happened once to me).

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Despite the equipment challenges it was fun. We rode what I felt was about 5 miles (although if you believe the signposts 10 miles) down to the fishing village of Mui Ne. There wasn’t much going on there, however the sight of hundreds of local fishing boats moored in the harbor was impressive.

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We stopped for the obligatory coffee, noodles and spring rolls on the way and at the fishing village Kim & Candy managed to get accosted by 3 young local girls selling jewelry and postcards and are now 2 bracelets and 10 postcards better off.

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The roads here seem treacherous to me. It is actually illegal for non-Vietnamese to drive (although it doesn’t seem to stop tourists riding around on mopeds) which is good as I have no desire to be behind the wheel or on the seat of something motorized! The drivers, particularly of the large trucks and buses, have no fear…they’ll just put their foot down and not take it up again until they reach their destination…god help anyone who gets in the way.

We were all pretty whacked after our jaunt, but managed to find the energy to hit the local bar where we stayed last time, WAX, for a few drinks and food that night.

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Yesterday we booked onto a “Jeep tour to the Sand Dunes”…I was not really sure what I was expecting , but I can now tell you that a “Jeep tour to the Sand Dunes” is exactly that…you pay $9 each, get in a Jeep, drive 30km to some sand dunes and then get in the Jeep and drive 30km back again!

It was fun though. We loaded into the back of the Jeep with our driver and a local Saigon girl, Yang, who was herself traveling around SE Asia and who spoke excellent English. We first went to the “Fairy Streams” which from what I could gather is a canyon that runs up into the hills. We walked a little way up the streams which passed through some amazing scenery. I actually found this to be the best bit of the trip.

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From there, we drove to the “White Sand Dunes”…I guess if you’ve never seen a sand dune before it would be more interesting, however I think the drive there was more spectacular. We stopped for a while and then headed to the “Red Sand Dunes” which to me looked no different to the “White Sand Dunes”…and I think everyone else was in agreement…so we drove back to Mui Ne.

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Candy left for Delat this morning, a town in the hills about 200km north west of here. Kim is going to meet up with her again in Saigon on her departure in 3 weeks, although if the traveling gets to much we may see her back at the beach again before then!

Kim and I had a day on the beach today…sun was out and we managed to top up our tans.

The food is not quite as bad as I remember it…but it’s not great either. We did have some nice shrimp and fish the other night and I’ve had a couple of ok stir fries…I don’t think we’re going to starve, but I’m guessing after 4 or 5 weeks I’ll be happy to never see a noodle again. Breakfast is a real struggle especially if you want an egg…they will cook it “anyway you want” as long as it’s slighty under-fried. Seems the Vietnamese breakfast options are Pho (spicy noodle soup) or Bahn Mi…a curious invention…basically a baguette that is all crust and no bread…usually served with butter and jam…you tear it apart and watch it disintegrate as the crusty crumbs fall onto your plate…at which point you’re left with a small pot of butter and jam for breakfast.

Posted by msmitheman 07:20 Archived in Vietnam

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You weren't supposed to blame me for the bikes!! Missing you guys already....

by Khandilee

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