Mui Ne, Vietnam: A Photo Essay – Page Five
By Kelly Westhoff
The hill was so vertical that if it had been of ice and snow we would have zipped down in the blink of an eye. Since it was made of sand, however, it was slower going, but not a whole lot. By dragging our feet in the sand behind us, we could somewhat control our speed.
It was fun and we would have been tempted to do a few runs if climbing back up hadn’t been so hard.
Our feet sunk in the sand and we were so completely winded upon reaching the top that we both doubled over and gasped, “I feel sooooo old!”
After we finally dragged ourselves back across the sand dunes and to our Jeep, we found a gaggle of village children hanging around, looking for a ride back into town. We gave the okay and eight rush in. They squeezed and shuffled and hung on as we took off. Along the way, one of the girls stared and stared and stared and smiled and smiled and smiled at my husband. Finally he asked her, Why are you smiling?
She thinks you’re handsome, answered another girl from across the Jeep. All the children broke into a fit of giggles while the smiling girl blushed and turned her head.
And then the Jeep suddenly stopped. The kids leapt from their spots, bowed deep traditional Vietnamese thank-yous, waved and ran off towards their homes.
And we sped off towards our home, too. We knew, of course, that our beach-side villa wasn’t really our home. We also knew that these past few days living the travel high life at an expensive Vietnamese resort were coming to an end; we were packing up the next morning. But for now, we were intent on enjoying it all.
Even though Mui Ne started as a fishing village, tourists don’t often stay in the original part of town. Instead, the beach — and therefore the hotels — are south of town and removed from village life.
This means both meals and accommodations cost more than they do in much of the rest of the country as the entire beach strip was built for tourists.
We stayed at the Bamboo Village Beach Resort and paid a hefty $70 US nightly price for a private, beachside bungalow.
Next door, the Blue Ocean Resort also offered private bungalows and well-manicured grounds for a little less dough.
The Hong Di Guest House, also on the beach, offered cheaper beds, some at $10 US a night.
We took a bus from Saigon to Mui Ne. It was a pleasant three-hour drive on a smoothly paved highway that cost about $ 7 US.
Kelly Westhoff is a traveler, teacher and writer from Minneapolis. See more of her work at kellywesthoff.com.
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