Sapa, Vietnam

Trip Start Nov 10, 2005
Trip End Apr 30, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Over the last month in Vietnam I have driven a motorbike in the streets of Saigon, the hills of Dalat and Sapa, and on the beach in Mui Ne. Fortunety for me, these are only 100cc motorbikes and I still have all my limbs. You don't have to talk to many people here to understand the true danger of these small bikes. That said, after entering Vietnam via China, I worked down the coast to Saigon and have had a wonderful time. I am especially adabtable to the beach once but my skin, at least at first, as many of you know, is not.
I spent 2 weeks on the beach in Vetnam. First in Nha Trang and then in Mui Ne. In Nha Trang I worked on my burn and presto! 'Lobster Boy' was back. To compensate for the burn I spent a day at the spa and had my first mud bath. After leaving the mud bath I went on a boat cruise to islands in the area. As it was almost Tet, many Vietnamese were on the cruise and I sat back in awe of just what happens on a Vietnamese booze criuse. After lunch the crew brought out speakers, a drum set, an electric guitar and microphones onto the deck. The boat was about 40 feet in length and packed. I was sitting on the front of the boat enjoying my Dalat wine when the bad starts playing "Frere Jaques" in every language native language of the passengers on the boat; vietnamese, english, korean, dutch, french, italian, chinese, and japanese. Frere Jaques was followed up by 'My heart will go on' and 'Shake your bon bon' which led into the floating bar where we all were served wine in the water while floating along with the life saving ring. I returned to my room around 5pm, tired, sun burnt and happy.
After the experience at Nha Trang, the beach life at Mui Ne was decidedly far more tranquil. White sand and few tourists, except for the kite surfers and fellow beachers. One afternoon I was walking along the beach through a local fishing area, (and by fishing area, these were small boats, 1 or 2 people working on each, living in huts along the beach) and was called over into the shade underneath the coconut trees by some of the locals. I was asked to sit down and join their lunch. They were half a dozen men in their 30's who didn't speak any english and I certainly can't speak vietnamese. However, we sat their for three hours drinking moonshine and eating fish in hot pepper sause. The local kids came over and were facinated by my hair, (who could blame them) and I told them the english names to the disney characters on their shirts. One of hte guys climed the 30 foot coconut tree and we then had coconut milk with ice to dilute the toxic rice wine. The evenings were spent with a few other travellers at a local beach bar sitting on bean bag chairs while the waves crashed in at sunset. Tranquil indeed!
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