Don't Be Lazy, Get Crazy

Mui Ne Travel Blog

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Sand dunes on the way in.

I'd first like to start by saying just how happy the Vietnamese people seem to be.  Definitely the happiest country I've ever been to, despite their lack of money.  They seem to be very content lazing about, lounging on hammocks, waiting for customers (or not, doesn't matter), and then heading to the beach for some swimming and family time.  They are always smiling.  Probably because they're ripping the tourists off like CRAZY, but still, it's nice to see.

 

Alriiight.  I arrived in Nha Trang, the beach capital of Vietnam, and booked a one day boat tour of the nearby islands.   I quickly met a Japanese girl, Yukimo, and a German girl, Steffi, and boarded the boat.

People treking up the dunes.
  There were three other Americans there (they seem to be everywhere now!) plus a ton of Norweigans carrying homemade Norweigan flags, consisting of a paper drawing on a stick.  Apparently it was their Independence Day back home.  So that was pretty amusing to see.  The trip was obviously geared more towards partying than anything else, but it was a surprisingly fun time.  Beer will do that.  We got to spend a ton of time in the ocean on tubes, just chilling out and enjoying the water.  At one point there was a guy on a larger tube with some pineappley liquor drink and we all swarmed around him like beggers saying "please sir, can I have some more?" and holding up our empty cups.  Awesome.  Don't worry, we took time out to think of all of you back home with jobs and real responsibilities while we floated and drank listening to classic English music.
Beach.
  Our tour guide was hilarious as well and after the insanely huge lunch they made us, the crew got together and played music from the various countries where people were from.  They even made them come up and sing in front of everyone.  Thank goodness they didn't pick America.

 

That night we all got back, showered, napped, then met for dinner complete with our complimentery buckets.  It pays to stay at a party hostel sometimes.  We then headed to the Red Apple Club, adjacent to our hostel, and started the night there.  After we headed down to the beach to the Sailing Club which was much more of a dance scene.  There were a lot of locals there and it was really fun to dance around with them (no mater how much they followed and tried to grope you.

Che Guevera selling teeth whiteners? Naturally.
. all part of the experience.. right?) and watch them breakdancing.  On the way back Mike, one of the Americans, actually paid the cyclo driver to drive HIM back to our hostel.  Bet that's the first time that happened to him!  Mike did the same thing the next night, except for Yumiko, Steffi and I jumping in, which I think was considerably harder.  Sorry, Mike.  Yumiko then got so drunk she came back from the bathroom insisting that someone punched her in the forehead and now she has a big bump.  Mike and I were all pumped up being like "where is the guy?  we'll kill him!" then realized that she ran into a door.   Oh the events we preceive when drunk.

 

Feeling like a lazy ass, I decided to get back into the swing of 'touristy' things and headed for the Po Ganda Cham Towers.

View from my breakfast spot.
  It took me over an hour each way to walk there in the blistering sun, but hey, what else do I have to do?  And it was worth it.  The architecture was really amazing, first I've seen of it's kind in Asia.  There were some traditional people dancing and playing music and it was nice to sit and relax while looking at the amazing view of the city from the hill.  I walked back along the beach and stopped for awhile to watch the locals fly kites and the kids play.  The little kids all wear these sandals with a sweaky sole so every time they took a step it made noise, which was cute at first, but annoying when they started running around.  I was about to leave when one of the kids, who couldn't have been more than 16 months old, came up to me and started looking through my purse.   Now normally I latch onto my purse like it was my life support (which I suppose it kinda is), but I figured she was just a kid with no one around so was harmless.  She found my little gnome and decided to play with it.  Other kids came around and passed the gnome, one of them decided to put it in her mouth (gross) and run off with it.  I then had to chase her down and try to get it back, but was met with blank stares from both her and her mother.  Finally I found some American coins to give her and traded for my gnome.  No way I was losing that! 

 

I then traveled to Dalat, a mountain town that is apparently popular with honeymooners, although once I got there I had no idea why.  Dalat itself was much bigger than I anticipated and I was slightly disappointed at the lack of charm, I suppose, and of things to do.  I walked around through the night market and stopped at a little local restaurant.  These two white girls walk in and sit near me and so I strike up a conversation with them and they asked me to join them.   I love how this works here no problem, but at home talking to strangers is weird.  I ended up spending the rest of the evening with them (Siobian and Roisin - sisters from Manchester, England) and we booked a tour for the next day to sightsee around Dalat.  Our breakfast the next morning was interesting.  We all ordered the same omlette and after about 20 minutes saw a random lady walk in carrying a bag full of eggs, then another with vegetables, then another with meat.  Apparently they had to go shopping to make our meal!  It took almost an hour, but hey, at least we knew it was fresh.  And really good too, complete with potato chip "hash browns" haha.  Anyways, the tour took us to a flower garden, a coffee and tea plantation, a Buddhist temple, Elephant Falls waterfall, a silkworm factory, and a rice wine (lethal) factory.  All in all a good day! 

 

Since there wasn't much to do in Dalat, I only stayed two days then made my way to another beach town, Mui Ne.  The bus ride there was crazy bumpy, like all trips in Asia, and some girl joining us halfway decided to sit next to me instead of in one of the 20 empty seats behind me.  She kinda smelled, rubbed against me the whole time due to the bumps, and even fell asleep pratically laying on my shoulder.  This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't one of two people already on the bus and there was plenty of room for all of us to spread out.  They don't have that same personal space concept as us.  But, regardless, it was very interesting to see the countryside inland.  The poverty really struck me when I saw how remote and isolated some of these makeshift homes were.  I've never been to Africa, but the landscape vaguely reminded me of what I would think to see there.  Desolate, expansive, beautiful, but a harsh place to live.  It was stunning, though, to come upon the famous red sand dunes of Mui Ne.   Mui Ne itself was quiet, not many tourists, and not much going on.  I stayed by myself in a random hotel and due to the beach being kinda dirty and extremely windy (they're known for wind sports) I sorta spent a lot of time there.

 

The second day I headed to the beach again, dipped into the ocean and was followed by two Vietnamese guys who wanted pictures.  Creepy.  I was going to hide in the water for awhile, ignoring their requests that I join them for lunch and drinks, but I ended up getting stung by a jellyfish and so I had to get out.  The guy followed me around until I agreed to have one drink.  This turned into 4 drinks and lots of pictures.  They seemed harmless enough though and so I stayed for awhile.  I then went to the pool where I met 4 Dutch guys who had been listening to my converstation with the Vietnamese guys and started teasing me about it.  They were cool though so I hung out with them the rest of the day/evening, drinking lots of beers and having a good time.  They left the next day so I was on my own again, but I bumped into Juliette and Rob (of course) and so spent the next evening drinking and chilling with them.  Overall Mui Ne wasn't my favorite, but it was relaxing and I got to spend some time alone which was nice. 

 

Hm, apparently I only took like 5 pictures in Mui Ne.

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Sand dunes on the way in.
Sand dunes on the way in.
People treking up the dunes.
People treking up the dunes.
Beach.
Beach.
Che Guevera selling teeth whitener…
Che Guevera selling teeth whitene…
View from my breakfast spot.
View from my breakfast spot.
Mui Ne
photo by: TrudyNRonnie