31
Jul

8/22 Friday evening – 8/24 Sunday

The main reason for coming to Vietnam is to experience what life is like for E and to meet his friends and coworkers. It was perfect that his company planned a retreat this weekend at Mui Ne so that we can both see a new place and get to know his coworkers.

Friday evening 9pm, 16 of us in the group boarded a sleeper bus for a 5 hour trip eastbound to the beach resort of Mui Ne. The bus sleeps about 35 people in a top-and-bottom bunk style. It was [probably purposely] overbooked and several people [probably paying discounted prices] slept on the floor of the bus with bed rolls that were provided. It’s not as bad as it sounds because everyone was required to remove street shoes before entering the bus (they thoughtfully provided plastic bags for us), so the floor was [relatively] clean.

I didn’t know if I could sleep, but I did. It was a very pleasant ride. Before I knew it, it was time to disembark at 2am. After checking in our room that came equipped with a mosquito net over the bed, I fell asleep again, woke up at 7:30am in the morning to start our day with a continental breakfast that was included.

The hotel is right on the beach, my room had a view of the Pacific Ocean, quite nice. The water on this side of the Pacific is much warmer than in SoCal. But definitely not as clean. I didn’t go in the water because it stank of fish. In retrospect, I regret not going in to enjoy the warm water. There’ll probably be no next time for me to be in Mui Ne again, but I would like to come back to Vietnam to another beach resort and swim in the warm water there. Or I can go to Hawaii….

I did join our group swimming in the pool, where the water was VERY warm. I’m very glad I did that.

In the afternoon, while E and coworkers had a meeting, I lived my dream life.

For years I’ve been [jokingly] telling my hubby to work harder so I can afford a condo by the beach with open views of the ocean and sky where I can watch the clouds and waves. Here in Mui Ne, I experienced it. It was exactly as I hoped it would be. I sat in the balcony of my room, reading with the ocean breeze on my face. The winds started to pick up and I can see the dark storm clouds roll in. Under the safety of the balcony, I enjoyed the ocean roar and wind whipping through palm trees. I’m putting in my reservation with Jesus for my mansion in the sky to have this view.

After seeing the traffic in Saigon, I wanted to experience driving a motorbike, and thought I could try it in the light traffic here in Mui Ne. But when I sat on the machine, it felt too intimidating for me to maneuver. In the end, I got a ride on the back of the bike, which even at 30 miles an hour, was a thrill.

Saturday evening we walked to Fanny’s ice cream shop, but we suspected it’s an unauthorized shop because it did not have the fancy items that Fanny is famous for. We’ll have to go to Fanny’s in Saigon to experience a real Fanny’s.

Sunday, our bus is scheduled to leave at 1:30pm. We have the morning for an adventure to Fairy Stream. I would say this was the most unique experience I’ve ever had.

This is not my video, but it’s exactly what it looks like, and to be there is more fun than it looks. We walked barefooted on the stream of red, white, and black soft sand through a small canyon of red sand dunes. It’s squishy and refreshing on a hot day. I fell knee deep in a quicksand hole but came out unscathed, rescued by T. We got to the end with a small waterfall, went up the hill through a small path between tall grass, and found there a small house with a family that probably lived there, a small rice field (first time I touched a rice stalk), and some people there having a BBQ.

I know it doesn’t sound thrilling like skydiving, but having never lived in the country, I could not imagine I would walk barefooted on a river of soft red sand.

When we got back to the hotel, our friend A bought Dooner kebabs for lunch. We later found out that Au also ate Dooner kebabs in Germany. Seems that the little kebab stand is quite an international company. The bus back to Saigon was 2 hours late, again overbooked and crowded. This return trip was not at all pleasant. I could smell the smoke from the driver’s cigarette smoking. He turned on the radio really loud until someone asked him to turn it off. My bed cushion kept slipping off that I nearly fell off the bed on the upper level. The window was not water tight and the rain was leaking inside. When we made it back to Saigon at 9pm, I was starving.

We walked a block to have pho, and it was delicious! I love pho in the US, and I love pho in Vietnam even more. You can get a hot bowl of pho for 40,000VND, = $2.00USD. That’s better than a hamburger.

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