23.12.2007 - 03.01.2008
From Saigon we caught a “sleeper” bus North to Mui Ne, on xmas eve. The bus was quite a strange affair, as it had bunk bed type seats.
Unfortunately they had been built to accommodate Vietnamese as opposed to westerners. Very uncomfortable. Not a lot of sleeping going on.
Mui Ne was a pretty palm lined bay, although there wasn’t much of a beach to speak of.
We didn’t care though, as we’d booked a fancyish hotel to stay at, with a pool. Was really good to be able to just relax by the pool for a couple of days. Part of the the deal with staying at the hotel was that we had to attend the compulsory Christmas Eve BBQ, bumping up the price a good bit. Was actually quite entertaining, and the food was pretty good too. The entertainment was quite strange. First they had a guy dressed up as santa come and dish out sweeties. He was a lot skinnier and shorter than I remember him and he had a very big pointy moustache.
He also ran between the tables with his hands aloft, kind of squealing, like he’d just scored a goal, which was quite unusual. It was all good fun. The best bit was the prize draw, where the host drew room numbers, got the winners up on stage, and forced them to sing Christmas carols, that the band didn’t know the tune to, and that the winners only knew the first line of. Then in an effort to save the day the host burst into a rendition of “We wish you a merry Christmas”. But once again the band played a version I’d never heard before, and the host only knew the ‘we wish you a merry xmas and a happy new year’ bit which he sang very loudly and proudly at the chorus, and mumbled very quietly over and over again fitting it to the verses. We were in hysterics.
Christmas day was spent lounging around the pool in the 30 degree heat which was excellent. Then we watched the fisherman out at sea, in their ridiculously dangerous little baskets, floating by at sunset.
We skipped the turkey and had a traditional Vietnamese hotpot that night which was very good.
After a few days in Mui Ne we headed further North to Nha Trang, another beach resort. Unfortunately the weather turned a bit crap since we got here and so I’ve spent most of our time here moaning and checking the internet for weather updates. Nha Trang’s quite a big city right on the beach. The town itself is pretty naff, with lots of tourist traps round every corner. The beach is massive, and looks pretty good. However, we’ve only been down there once, to look. It’s been grey and cold, and even rained a couple of times which has not been good. We did however venture out on a fishing trip which was fun. It was ridiculously cheap.
We chartered our own boat all day, with guide, crew of two, fishing equipment, and lunch, all for around $50.
We weren’t very successful on the fishing front. Jenny caught one fish that was about the size of a 50p. I was almost resigned to returning having caught nothing. Was so frustrated to the extent that I was considering throwing the rod in, as Jenny kept getting nibbles and was doing a bit of gloating, and I hadn’t had anything all day. Luckily, she wanted another 5 minutes before heading back, which was enough time for me to catch a less than impressive, but considerably bigger fish than her….. which I rubbed in for the rest of the day.
We spent New Year's eve in a cheesy bar that handed out stupid hats for everyone to wear. Was a good laugh though, and we met up with a couple of Scots, which meant that the drinking got suitably out of control.
The DJ got an earful from all of us for preferring Abba's Happy New Year after the bells, as opposed to Auld Lang Syne. We ended up at a party on the beach and feeling pretty unwell all the next day. Was good fun though.
Last night we ate off the street. It was basically a little family with big pots of fresh seafood set up on the pavement, with only the main road separating them from the sea where the fish had been caught. Can't get much fresher than that. We were seated on little childrens plastic chairs at a tiny table, having picked a selection of shellfish - 2 lobster, about 10 scallops, and a couple of snail-like things.
The snails turned out to be the best. It tasted amazing and was all cooked in front of us on a BBQ, and we got it all for under a tenner, which is incredible value.
Today we're killing time before catching another weird sleeper bus North to Hoi An. Hopefully by the time we get to Hanoi the sun will be behaving itself, or I'm going to start getting very upset......