mui ne motorcycle diaries
Previously, on Fliptravels:
We were both drifting fast to La-la land when I asked Monette…
Ron: We booked a round trip ticket right?
Ron: Is it (the return ticket) with you?
Both: HOH CRAP!!!
And so we endured half of the five-hour trip to Mui Ne with shooting BPs as we don’t know how we can get hold of our return tickets. At the pit stop, I quickly took my caffeine fix; and with closed eyes, called our hotel that booked us the tour (Ron also had to call them to make sure they’re giving us the same information) to find a solution to the pressing problem. Because I don’t know how to speak Elvish despite being hooked to LOTR, I had to spend a lot of time on the phone. Finally, I was able to decode the instructions: “Go to the Tourist Center (which one, I don’t really know) and tell them to call us and we’ll arrange everything for you.
We arrived Mui Ne past noon with a pang of hunger and dread of not being able to come back to Ho Chih Minh. Ron and I raided the Tourist Center where the bus made a final stop. My hopes of solving the problem disappeared when the receptionist with the vocabulary of an elf and a look of an Uruk Hai refused to call our hotel. I ended up calling the hotel for them. In the end, we were told to call our hotel back when we’ve settled in a hotel in Mui Ne and they will be the one to coordinate with the bus as to where the bus will pick us up on our way back.
Angry and frustrated, we went out of the Tourist Center where we greeted by a couple of motorcycle drivers who offered to take us to a hotel. We settled at 10,000VND each for a 5-minute ride to Hoang Kim Golden. For a 27$ double room, Ron and I enjoyed a nice view of the garden pool and the beach I was never able to set foot on.
Mui ne got an idyllic feel that one would suspect that it is where vampires go during summer, it was insanely quiet and despite the presence of luxurious beach front hotels and resorts, one would think that it doesn’t have electricity supply. It feels like one of those cyprus holidays commercials where they show grand villas against a background of a clear blue sky, rugged coastline but nobody was moving. Like Boracay after the rapture.
The restaurant served good food though the staff needed a little bit of customer service training. Clearly, I can make good money if I started my corporate training there. They were willing to call our hotel back in the city though, thus, our bus slots were secured on the way back to the city.
But, we failed to ask the name of the bus line! GOOD JOB!!!
After the meal, the guys who took us to the hotel showed up to start our afternoon tour of the province. After settling with 8US$ each, we were on our way to Suoi Tien, the Fairy Stream. It was called fairy stream because during the time of war, closet GI’s wash their glittered wings in this brook. No, I just made this one up!
We were greeted by hoards of children that I thought I got zapped back in Siem Reap, except that they weren’t selling anything except for their tour services. Two kids immediately approached Ron and I and offered to take us through the stream as it is filled with “large holes that can swallow you up.” We said yes only to one kid which made the other kid pissed off that we had to cover our necks lest get poisoned by stealthily aimed poisoned arrow.
We waded carefully in the stream and finally got sight of boulders that do look like the Grand Canyon if you have an imagination on steroids, which we do, so it was ok. After 10 minutes of walking and after learning from our little guide that sands can come in different colors (like white, gray, and red), he started asking for his fee. How much, you ask? He was charging us 100,000 effing VND! When I told him he’s not going to get that, he started crying and recited a litany about his dreams of finishing his studies and how he can’t go to school because we were refusing to pay him. Are you f***ing kidding me?!?! Before I can strangle him to death, Ron grabbed my hand and pretended to leave without giving anything if the kid won’t accept what we’re giving. The boy obviously had loads of experience and practice that by the end of the trip, he was able to squeeze out 50,000VND from us. I told Ron he should’ve just let me strangle the child.
As expected, Ron left some biting words to the kid, “Do yourself a favor, stop ripping-off tourists. Go spend all your waking hours in the gym and grow up fast. YOU GOT A FUTURE!—as porn actor! There you can cry all you want while getting…”
We hopped on our motorcycles and asked our guides to take us to the next destination: Lang Cai or the Fishing Harbor. Upon getting there, we parked along the coastal road and savored the fishy breeze and the calm of the village. The play of colors was a feast on the eyes.
There was something romantic about the harbor as the fishermen bobbed their way out into the ocean with their rattan boats. Over at the sea, several boat houses neatly lined up to greet the sunset. On the shore, the fishermen were unloading their catch. And on the beach, millions of shells substituted the sand that covered this north part of Mui Ne.
When the smell of the harbor and the heat of the sun started to turn our skins to anchovy crisps, we decided to hit the road and head off to the place that brought us in Vietnam in the first place.
To be continued…