Monday, August 22, 2005

Mui Ne Beach to Ho Chi Min

Mui Ne Beach to Ho Chi Min

(Some of this stuff I've taken from an email Mel wrote :) )

We left Nha Trang and took a day bus to Mui Ne Beach. One word describes Mui Ne beach really well. Quiet! It was quite pretty and we stayed in a really nice hotel for $12 per night. :) Mui Ne is famous for it's kite surfing (and to a lesser extent surfing and wind surfing). We ended up staying two nights here and spent most of our time sitting on the beach watching the kite surfers or driving about on a moped. One of the days we took the moped and went around a fishing village. It was one of the first places in Vietnam that we were in that wasn't completely geared towards tourists. It was great, walking around, taking photos, chatting (or at least trying to) to the locals. The only bad thing was that every now and then there was a horrific smell that we have decided to call “Fish Sauce”. It pretty much smells like an open sewer. (Just like Fish Sauce :))

It was so fuuny. We were sitting at the beach and a lady walks buy carrying two toilets. I don't really know what she was thinking... Maybe there is no toilets close to the beach...

Mel and I at the sand dunes on Mui Ne. Apart from the beach itself, this is the other touristy thing to do. Little kids try to scam you into hiring a piece of plastic to slide down the side of the dunes. I paid about 25c to slide down the dunes. It's not much fun, but the kid did take this photo.

Look how much I trust Mel :) Later in the trip, Mel drove the scooter a lot with me on the back. We got SO many stares from the locals. They have possibly never seen a girl drive a guy on a scooter before!

A photo from the fishing village. These tiny fish being dried out is probably the case of the Fish Sauce smell....

Next we traveled to Ho Chi Min City. My first impression of HCMC is that it's a lot more cosmopolitan then anywhere else (except Bangkok) that we had traveled. Tall buildings, nice hotels, Starbucks... okay, not quite (that was Bangkok). The most interesting thing to do in HCMC is to take a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. These are the tunnels that the VC used in the war against the Americans – basically, in quite a small area there is about 250km of tunnels under the ground including bunkers). So you have the chance to climb into these tunnels through tiny holes in the ground which are totally invisible and walk in a crouched position, and sometimes on all fours (they were definitely not built for us), for about 10 min through hot, humid and dark small holes about 3-10 meters underground. The funniest thing was when a few bats woke up and flew over our heads causing a few girls to break out in hysteria in the middle of a dark tiny tunnel... but a very interesting experience! We even got to shoot an AK47 afterwards. After this we went to the War Remnants Museum (formally called “Some Pictures of the US Imperialists Aggressive War Crimes on Vietnam”) and were shocked for about one and a half hours (the length of time it took us to walk around the museum).

Mel climbs through a hole in the ground into the tunnels.

The next day we set out for Phnom Penh but I'll leave this story to another day. Basically, the next 24 hours was the craziest time of the trip and almost certainly any trip that I've been on!

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