Monday, 29 November 2010

Miss Saigon

It did not feel like leaving Mui Ne at all, but after 5 days there it was already time to move forward, so on Tuesday I've booked open tour bus to go to Ho Chi Minh City. In the evening though I was again in the mood to stay one more day, especially that we had really funny time. But on the other hand when we didn't?
So on Wed morning I've managed to get up, have my breakfast and get on the bus. Both with Marcus we were so wasted and shattered that most of the journey we've spent sleeping, or at least trying to do so.
In Saigon we've splitted. He went to book his Phu Quoc Island ticket and I've gone to search for a place to stay. As always I've wanted to stay in dorms, to have an opportunity to meet some people.So I've ended up in that place run by Vietnamese woman who is incredibly tight fisted. She runs it on her own, with almost noone to help her. She is always on the edge, forgetting things and people and getting confused all the time. Once she's asked me if I go upstairs and if I could take some water and coke to room 403. I was quite surprised, but ok, I've taken it there. Next day at the free breakfast I've asked for two fried eggs and as an answer I've received: "No, it is so expensive, and you pay only 7$ here". Fuck you!
Expect that it was pretty much ok there. One guy whom I've met at the Halong Bay trip was there too, so that made everything so much easier. I've just joined him and his friends for sightseeing and Cu Chi tunnels trip.
Tunnels were impressive, how they've been able to dig them and than use them to move and hide. All the spiky traps that they've invented, I wouldn't like to fell into one of those.
We also went to War Remnants Museum, which basically was a display of what Americans did to Vietnamese, how they were spreading Orange Agent and what it has caused to the environment, people and next generations. Handicapped children, miscarriages, siam twins, skin problems. It just reminded me about Czarnobyl Power Plant explosion. Radioactive cloud has caused similar things.
Now I'm sitting on a slow boat on the Mekong river to get to Cambodia. With two other guys we've booked this trip to make it easier, but of course everything is as always cheated and we do not get exactly what we were supposed to get. Like for example: we were supposed to spend night in Chau Doc in a floating hotel. There was floating hotel, and there was Chau Doc, but on the other side of the river. There where we were was almost no place to go to have food, of course except hotel where we were staying, but none of us was willing to give them any more money so we went to search for a place to eat. And that was brilliant. We were eating in kind of restaurant, more like private house of Vietnamese family. Delicious Beef Hot Pot with different kinds of green leaves to dip in it and loads of noodles. Really tasty, served by 12 year old boy, trying his best.
Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Christmas in Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi Tunnels - Direction entrance to the tunnel

Entering the tunnel

Door trap

Night out in Ho Chi Minh City

Night out in Ho Chi Minh City

Tiger Cages - cages where prisoners were kept

Main Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City

Floating Market - pretty empty at this time of the day. To find out what is being sold on each boat have a look at what is hanging from the bamboo pole

Coco candy assembly line
Mekong petrol station

On the Mekong River

Probably the most interesting part of our Mekong trip - big Python

The longest bridge in Asia - 14km long

This is where we had out Hot Pot. We are sitting in the sitting room of the family where we were eating

My little Vietnamese friend

Laundry in Mekong river, which is not that clean at all

Pirate on the slow boat

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Beach, sea, sun, rum

After coming to Mui Ne with the most craziest bus driver you never want to go back. Life here is so chill and easy going that you just want to stay here for ever. I did not plan to stay here so long, but I just do not feel like going anywhere. Maybe except making a short walk to get some sea food or riding to the sand dunes or fairy creek on the rented motorbike.
Days here flow with completely different rhythm. I wake up around 10, go to get breakfast to he Lam Tong, restaurant, also called Popular Restaurant which is just next door and I meet there all the people that I know in Mui Ne also having breakfast. It takes usually about hour and a half till we are served and till we get everything that we've ordered, and it's not the case of ordering too much, but a case of very relaxed waiters, who look like they've been smoking weed all night long.
Breakfast containing big fruit salad with yogurt, pancake, white coffee costs 48.000 dongs, which is about 2.5$.
Next everyone goes to the beach and stays there all day, unless we decided to go for a small snack at 3 p.m. and end up sitting in Lam Tong till 10 p.m. having there lunch, drinking rum, than having dinner and drinking rum again. But this rum is not real rum, it's more like sugar cane vine. It is also not too strong, I'd say is about 18%, though on a bottle it says something about 29%.
There is also not much about party in Mui Ne, except Full Moon Party on Saturday which was meant to be the best party in here. It was nice, on a sand dunes, even packed, but electro is not entirely my type of music, but still it was good to be there as probably 95% of backpackers and tourists in Mui Ne were there that night. Bad thing about it was, that my sandals got stolen there. Dutch guy who was there with us just sneaked some flip flops for me. I know that it should not have happened and in the morning I did not fele good with that, but I was too pissed of to refuse it. This way I've exchanged my Source sandals into Havaianas flip flops (zamienił stryjek siekierkę na kijek...).
Mui Ne seems to be very popular destination for Russians, they are everywhere and menus, signs and adverts are all in Russians too.

Mui Ne is meant to be first kite surfers destination in Vietnam

Beach in Mui Ne

Walnut shell boat

Mui Ne beach

Sea food - prawns

In a sea food restaurant where we had dinner, owner was killing that snake - cut its head, dropped all the blood and cut it in half. Next he mixed this blood with something (dunno if with water or vodka) and offered it to guests...

... don't expect me to refuse such a treat ;-)
pic is blurry but it's the only one that I have right now

We are renting bikes to go to sand dunes and fairy creek. Everything happens on the street.

Photo from behind the driver

That day I've learned how to ride manual motorbike

Fisherman village

Fisherman village
Red sand dunes

On the road

White sand dunes and lotus lake

Jump over the sand sledges. Snow sledges are so much better and so much faster.

White sand dunes and lotus lake

Easy Riders ;-)

On the way to white sand dunes

Fairy creek

Fairy creek
Entrance to my room in a hotel. It is meant to be the only place in Mui Ne where dorms are.

Beach area


In the water

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dalat Easy Rider tour

From rainy Hoi An, I've got to Dalat (with stop over in Nha Trang to change buses), which was a little bit less rainy, and actually I've been there quite lucky with the weather.
Dalat city is 120 years old and is known for its flower and vegetable plantations. 50% of income there comes from farming. Even though it laid on 1500 meters over sea level vegetation there never holds on. They harvest all year long, of course depending on the plant. And they also plant strawberries there, but unfortunately it was not harvest time, otherwise I'd prolly eat strawberries only.
There are two interesting things that you can do in Dalat: Easy Rider Tour and canyoning. Canyoning is more extreme and more expensive too, but I'd prefer to do it with good and sunny weather. And Easy Rider Tour is a tour on a motor bike with a guide who shows Dalat and its neighbourhood. This was what I've done there.
With Markus - Swedish guy whom I've met on the bus from Hoi An to Tha Trang and than Dalat we've booked Easy Rider tour and that was worth its value, this is where we've been:
Dalat from the hill

Dalat is known for its flower farms, this is one of them


At the flower farm

K'ho tribe. In this tribe when a couple gets married, it's a guy who moves into girl's house.If they have kids, they get woman's family name.

K'ho tribe house. I'm playing with toy, trying to shoot a stone into the tree trunk

Dragon temple - this temple is guarded by turtle, unicorns, phoenix and dragon, and in fact these are important creatures for Vietnamese people.
Silk factory - of course battery in my camera was almost empty by that time, so I have only single shots of most of the places and things

Elephant waterfall, named like that after elephants coming here to drink water

We got to the same bottom of that waterfall, where only local fisherman were. It was pretty scary to get there, so probably that's why...

Crazy house - designed by Vietnamese woman, who's studied architecture in Moscow and must have been taking some drugs to have an idea of such house

Crazy house
From Dalat we got to Mui Ne on the most bumpy bus ride that I've ever had, but at least it was pretty quick and the bus stopped in Mui Ne in front of single place in whole Mui Ne where you can get dorms, which is perfect for me, cause it's cheap (5$) and directly at the sea.
In Dalat though we were sharing double room with Marcus, which gave us 4$ per person per night, but I still like dorm better. And funny thing, cause we've met in Mui Ne almost everyone who we've met in Dalat.
More about fabulous beaches, sun and sea in Mui Ne in next post.