There’s a place in Mui Ne that we’d looked up online called Mui Ne backpackers, run by a friendly Aussie it said. Dorm rooms for as little as six dollars. Double rooms with aircon and bathroom for ten to twenty dollars it said.
As it happened, we were dropped off not far from this place, and after a refreshing mug of tea, we walked in and asked the Aussie, who was indeed friendly with his g’day Aussie way, if he had any rooms. He did, thirty five dollars a night. Thirty five dollars! From a dreadlock surfer dude?
We said that was too much, so he offered it for twenty seven. We left.
And this is the thing about lonely planet, and travelfish, and all the online forums, they’re out of date, mostly.
We did ask him if there was cheaper rooms about and he said not on this side of the road. So, thirty feet the other side of the road then? Yup.
We walked on and just a few meters down the road a man asked if we were looking for rooms, we told him we were and asked how much. Twelve dollars. Aircon, tv (television), fridge, new room, very nice, so we followed the little bloke down an alley to the room and he was telling the truth, it is new, there’s still cellophane on the light switches it’s that new. Quiet as well, we might not be able to hear the sound of the ocean, whichever one it is, but we can’t hear the sound of the bars either.
Still the sink isn’t properly fixed to the wall though. They can defeat the crushing might of the American military but they can’t screw a sink to the bloody wall.
So we’re thinking of staying here in Mui Ne for maybe three nights before heading to Dalat. We’re in desperate need of laundry, and I mean proper need. I’m not going to say how long I’ve worn my shorts for because mother might be listening, but there’s no bloody plug in the sink, how are you supposed to wash your clothes?
The next day and the answer to yesterday’s dilemma is that they do laundry at the place we’re staying. Cool, I’m wearing my last t shirt and it’s wet already, and we’re only eating breakfast, it’s not like we’re exercising strenuously like we will be doing soon if I can’t persuade Nel that hiring bikes is a bad idea.
Mui Ne is famed for its beach and it’s dunes. Sand spread out and sand stacked up.
Where we’re stopping is opposite a perfectly serviceable beach but yesterday we decided to go to see if we could find a lonelier bit, and when I say we decided to, I mean Nel did.
If you stand looking across from this bit of beach, you will see a sea defense which stretches for quite a distance, and which is indistinguishable from the beach from here, so what looks like a couple of miles of beach is actually a gently sloped sea wall.
We walked, and got hotter and hotter and more and more tetchy for about an hour and a half until we stopped and bickered about whose stupid idea this was and whether it would have been a better plan to have hired pushbikes or not. Obviously not because it hadn’t been my idea.
When we’d stopped bickering we came down to the beach opposite our room and swam a bit and lay on the sand a bit. It’s been a while since we beach bummed.
Happily the ATM let us have some cash, two million dongs, we were on the way to the bank with my passport and tried it more out of habit than optimism.
A temple. If you look closely there are Buddhist swastikas on the gate.
There’s a little restaurant next door to our room where they serve Thai food so we thought we’d give it a go, seeing as how we’ve only eaten western food for so long now.
As it happened they have quite an extensive Vietnamese menu too and it looked good. It was good. We had to ask them to make it spicy for us and they were happy to. It was definitely better than noodles and cabbage, lots of chilli. H ha.
The waiter kid was a bit Julian Clarey, but they often are, waiters, the kiddie at Phnom Penh was, definitely.
An annoying thing here is the men trying to rent you a motorbike. They stop as you’re walking down the road, just pull up by the side of you, ‘you want moto?’ and mime riding a bike. And the bloody horns.
Taxi drivers are particularly persistent when you’re just strolling down the road. You hear a car horn blasting behind you, and after you’ve landed back on your feet there’s a taxi by the side of you.
The horns they fit to the vehicles here are turbo bastard supercharged things louder than Pink Floyd and the Vietnamese really really seem to enjoy using them.
I would be happy enough to hire a moto here, except we read up about it and you’re meant to have a Vietnamese license. There are many westerners riding them about and I strongly suspect that we weren’t legal in Thailand or Cambodia, but the thing was, we were sat in a cafe yesterday morning and watched the police pull a Vietnamese kid over for not wearing a helmet and besides, we’re leaving for Dalat tomorrow.
Dalat is in the mountains and the bloke who we booked with told up its sixteen degrees there.
Nah, I don’t believe it, and in fact I looked it up and it’s around thirty which we are looking forward to very much indeed, I mean, we were back on the beach today and now we’re both burned hot again, both pink and glowing. Last time we were burned like this was taking the moto up Bokor mountain.
There was quite a breeze today, see so you’re feeling cool while your skin is blistering.
There are many many kite surfing schools here. Probably every second hotel on the beachfront runs lessons and there were about sixty or seventy up today, the sky was full of them with young slim Americans called Tod, and Rip, and Dude, I expect, all stopping in hotels with beaches that you’re only allowed on if you’re stopping there. The bloody hotels own all the shadows and you’re not allowed to sit in their shade.
Lovely old Citroen left over from French times I guess
Last night after dinner we strolled down to a hotel down the road a bit where there was a sign outside saying live music.
We walked in and took a table at the front by where a fat and elderly Philippine man who was banging out tunes on a Spanish guitar.
He smiled at me when I sat down and after the song said he recognised us, you’ve been here before, he said. I think he’d taken a bit of a shine to Nel to be honest, he kept playing cheesy songs and dedicated a couple of them to her.
This song is your song, he told her and played Elton John. Yuk.
I think we were the only people there who were appreciative to be honest. He was a good old boy, a bit like an old blues singer but with an Asian accent.
So it’s nine in the evening now, seven hours in your future and we’re in our room with the cool book aircon on really hoping Dalat is going to be cold.
It’s hotter than the inside of mount Etna and these girls walk by in jackets. How can this be?
And this fruit seller as well, are they mad?