Friday night we arrived in HCMC airport at 6 pm. We went to Pizza Hut, which was actually really good after so much Vietnamese food, then went home and relaxed for the night. Saturday I woke up a man on a mission: to write my blog entry for Phu Quoc, which took me a good part of the day. I also went shopping for food, because in the evening we had my farewell BBQ (again); it was just Emma, Mikaela, Ludvig, Gus, Jay, and I. The burgers and chicken were even better than last time. We were gonna go out, but I was so tired I decided to go to bed instead.
On Sunday we went into District 1 to do a little shopping and for me to buy my ticket to Mui Ne for the following morning. I was going to be by myself, but while in D1 we ran into a new volunteer named Nam, and after having lunch with him found out that he had 3 friends who were traveling to Mui Ne for the same time as me, and he gave me their phone number. In the evening the girls and I went to a local coffee house for some ice cream, then went home and watched a movie.
Monday I woke up at 5 am and went to the bus stop in D1. It took 5 hours to get to Mui Ne, and when we got in at 1 pm I checked into my guest house, Hai Yen. It only cost 7 a night, and was pretty nice, complete with a pool and everything. The only bad thing was the communal bathroom, which was kinda far from my room
The Hai Yen Guesthouse:
Mui Ne is a small beach town that has a fishing village but has become overrun with resorts and tourism. The main attractions are a couple of sand dunes and the beaches- not a cultural center of Vietnam, to be sure.
The sunset from my guesthouse:
After eating lunch I laid by the pool for a few hours, then went to my room to call Nam's friend, Emily. She answered when I called and asked where I was staying. I told her Hai Yen, and after a pause to laugh she told me to come out to the pool- they were staying at the same place. She turned out to be really cool; she's in been in the Peace Corps in Cambodia for the past 9 months, and had a week vacation so was relaxing in Vietnam. She was traveling with 2 friends, Rachel and Eddie, who are in Peace Corps as well. The 4 of us went to dinner, and we got along well so we made plans to go on the tour of the sand dunes the following day.
We booked the tour for 2 pm, so had the morning and early afternoon to relax. I woke up at 6 and went running with Eddie, but after a few kilometers had to stop because my knee was hurting again. I hate being hurt, it's such a bummer... We sat by the pool until lunch, then waited for the jeep to pick us up.
The first stop on the tour was the Red Creek. It is called this because a hillside composed of red dirt has been eroding from water seeping through it, and now it has made a creek with cool sandstone formations on the side. We hiked up it for 30 minutes, then went back to the jeep.
Pics: 1. the Red Creek 2. Rachel posing
Next stop was a small canyon formed by creek that no longer exists. It was no Grand Canyon, but still cool.
The 3rd stop was the white sand dunes. The dunes were maybe 2 square kilometers, but cool because they seemed to appear out of nowhere. There were green hills and a lake next to it; it looked like someone trucked a bunch of sand there and dumped it, that's how out of place it felt. We hiked around on the dunes for an hour, then went back to the jeep.
Pics: 1. from left, Emily, Eddie, me, and Rachel 2. The white sand dunes
The last stop was the red sand dunes, which is where we were supposed to watch the sunset, however it was overcast so there wasn't one. In the evening we went out to and Indian restaurant, which was surprisingly good, and for a drink before going to bed early.
Wednesday I slept in till 10, then sat by the pool until lunch. The girls decided that they wanted to go to Dalat for a couple days and booked a bus for 1 pm. Then I received a big surprise: Ludvig and Gus had taken the bus up the night before, however I didn't have my phone on me so didn't receive their calls or texts, but when I happened to glance at my phone at 12 I saw that they were in Mui Ne. I called them, and they came and met us for lunch.
After saying goodbye to the girls we took a taxi to a remote beach and hiked around for a couple hours. I realized that we were close to the red sand dunes, and it wasn't overcast, so I convinced Gus and Luda to go there and have a beer while we watched the sun set. It was really beautiful to see the sun set behind the red dunes with the blue ocean behind us.
1. walking down the beach
2. the sunset at the red sand dunes
3. Ludvig jumping of a dune
In the evening we went out for burgers at Phat burger, which was cheap and delicious, then went to a bar with a French guy and British girl Luda and Gus met the previous night. We got home around 12 then crashed. Thursday I woke up at ten and had lunch with the guys before heading to the bus stop at 12:45 to catch a bus to Ne Trang to meet up with Annika.