Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Mui Ne



Our next escapade was to at Mui Ne, a coastal resort a few hours north of Saigon. When we arrived I was a bit disappointed with the beach: I had been hoping for the luxurious open expanses of White Beach, but the actual beach was tiny, almost non existent at high tide. Instead, there was a terraced area belonging to the hotel we were staying at that fronted onto the beach.

My disappointment quickly turned to enjoyment though: because we were on private land no one could harass us, and I stretched out on a lounger with a book, occasionally pausing from the addictive Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to stare into the sea. And how could anyone argue with sunsets like this?



The next day we took a tour of some of the interesting local sights. At the harbour, we got talking to one of the local girls who was selling a variety of heinous trinkets. She worked all day to help support her family, then would go to school for two hours at night. She was fourteen. Her English was excellent because she got her education through a sponsor a child programme, and so went to a school that was taught entirely in English. Despite her long days, she was incredibly cheerful and happy.



Our next stop was the Yellow Dunes where you can surf down the dunes. We dutifully paid the incredibly small sum to one of the young boys who worked renting sand surfing boards to tourists and set off to one of the highest dunes. This is the point at which I decide to develop cramp. In both my calves. I half staggered, half hot stepped up the dune, melodramatically collapsing on my knees when I reached the top.


The sand surfing board boy showed us how it was down, tobogganing penguin style down the dune and then effortlessly running back up. When it was my turn to go, I lay on the board and pushed off - and promptly got stuck not even halfway down the dune, with my skirt blown up! Trying to recover a little dignity, after I had pulled my board free of the sand, I tried going down sitting on the board. This was only marginally more successful, until I got wedged again.

At that point I gave up and started the journey back to the top. Never has the clich├ęd phrase ‘one step forward, two steps back’ been so apt. Every footfall saw me frustratingly slide back to a millimetre in front of where I had just been. Eventually I abandoned all attempts to maintain a shred of poise, and clambered up on my hand and knees. The stunning views made up for the embarrassment though: I had never realised that there was so much contrast in the landscape of Vietnam.

On our last morning I finally got into the swimming pool. I have not been in a swimming pool for thirteen years: the last time was when our high school attempted to teach 30 girls how to swim in a pool that, at the very most, was four or five metres by three, and no more than four foot deep. Since then I’ve only ever swum in the sea. It was very strange to be in water that had no current, smelt like chemicals instead of salt and to have smooth tiles under foot rather than sand and stones. It felt too easy and sterile somehow, like I was cheating.
For other worlds, visit My World Tuesday.

15 comments:

  1. My sis been to vietnam and said it is a nice place. I hope to go there this year. Your photo look lovely.

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  2. I say only: THAT sunset! And with PALM trees. I LOVe palm trees :-D

    Greetings from Niger!
    Esther

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  3. This is is a fun post. No arguing with that sunset for sure, and sand surfing sounds fun. We have a place in our state for sledding on the sand. We tried it one time after a rare rain, and did not meet with much success. We THINK it would be easier when dry, but maybe not.

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  4. A great tropical experience you will remember for a long time.

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  5. Louise - one word on warning, we were finding sand *everywhere* for the rest of the day!

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  6. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing

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  7. Very nice! Welcome to MyWorld - the first contribution out of China! :)
    Cheers, Klaus

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  8. many comments went throu my head will reading this post but'll just type in one: whta a beautiful blog to discover!

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  9. J, how marvelous an adventure you're having in China I'm sure! Thanks for showing me where you are and where you live! :)

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  10. J: Thanks for sharing your life in China and your visit to Viet Nam.
    I haven't seen you with us before so if it is your first time; welcome aboard.
    FG/My World Team

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  11. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. It looks very interesting.

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  12. Love the sunset. The beach looks like a fun place. I'm sure I'd get stuck sand surfing, too.

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  13. I can imagine your struggle to get to the top of the sand dune:) I am quite interested in trying the sandsurfing:) Sounds fun.

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  14. That must have been a tremendous experience! Great post!

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