After a short few hours wandering the streets in Ho Chi Minh city we were off to the beaches of Mui Ne (Me-you Nay) which used to be a fishing village before someone decided the great silky white sands would be a haven for tourists to relax and sun themselves. We hired a car for the 4-5 hour journey through one of the many travel agents that lined the streets in District One. Luckily our car had air conditioning and the promise was made if the A/C broke down our trip would be free… how is that for a deal?
We returned to the travel agents with our backpacks and we loaded into the car and were off. Looking out the windows the world passed us by. Houses that were small thin buildings with corrugated tin rooves, or fancier ones with balconies and large gates lined the streets. Every available space was filled with a sign of life… bikes, houses, laundry or bits and pieces of things that were salvaged and could be reused elsewhere.
Not to mention all the motorbikes loaded down with wares or families sped past. The hydro wires were big bunches of tangled webs that were rolled into a spiral at corner on small towers… very much like we saw in the Philippines only much neater and organised.
Soon we were heading out of the city and things were less crowded. We got on a small stretch of highway but before long the highway ended and we were driving through small towns and villages on a 2 lane road. On each side of the street there were numerous shops. Each shop was a small 3 wall cement building and inside it was full of items, many recycled car parts. There were axles, tires, motor parts… then beside this was a furniture shop with wood furniture, chairs, tables and beds, or a place that made coffins and wedding dress shops. Amongst all this dirt and unpaved store fronts to see a white (even blue, red and pink) wedding dresses looked a little out-of-place. The one thing that was missing was animals. For some reason my mind assumed animals should be wandering among all this… no longer the thought crossed my mind I saw a few dogs, cats and chickens.
Once we left some of the towns we passed numerous plain houses and rest stops amongst open spaces. Cows were tethered to yards and chicken ran wild. Some houses were large 2 story building with a large gate with a high fence and maybe a car or motorbike in the drive. Other houses were simple narrow long rectangular buildings that looked to be 1 or 2 rooms. Most of these places the doors were left open wide and you could steal a peek inside their lives as we raced by. The houses were simply furnished with a wooden frame sofa with a large cushion. Maybe a table and few chairs were also off to the side. Many had no electricity, but a few had a static-y TV left on with no viewers. Families sat on door steps or worked in the yards. On our return trip many places also had various nuts and items spread out on tarps drying in the sun. With so many family members home during a work day I wondered what these people did to earn a living. I can only guess they sell some of their farming wares or provided a few dollars by setting up a food stand at the side of the road. Many places had a few tables and chairs set up under a tarp. Smoke billowed out from open fire grills and a drink cart displayed all the soft drinks available. This reminded us of the country side and houses we saw in Cuba when we did a day trip to Havana. It was all so familiar like we had been here before.
The best thing about the drive was the rest stops. Numerous rest areas were along the roads and they were like nothing I had ever seen before. These rest stops were not like what we see in North America or even Europe; large chain restaurants, gas stations and souvenir shops. These were simple stops with trees providing shade, tables and chairs, and hammocks! Now that is a rest area! Some were nicer than others and had places to use the restroom or get food, the rest area may have a thatched roof to provide shade. Others were a corrugated tin roof or tarp. Some had been weathered and the tarps were ripped and set up on small A frame sticks tied together. People used them and took a break from their long travels between point A to point B.
Some of the typhoon still left some rain in its wake. The skies darkened and we drove through some heavy rain. Fields were flooded and in some places water went up to the front doors of houses. This area is prone to flooding and after the typhoon the night before a lot of water had not had
a the chance to drain away. In one place the road was flooded and I thought we may have to turn back. This was nothing and people just slowed down and kept on driving.
We arrived into Mui Ne village and saw many bright blue fishing boats as we wound our way through the town and passed by the water. We got to the top of a hill and saw the sparking South China sea to our right and a huge building development on our left. Soon a golf course, condos and shopping centre will grace the hill-top and be a draw to more travellers. We arrived at our hotel, The Seahorse Resort and quickly jumped out of the car and into the warm sunshine and cool breeze. The front desk was an open air lobby with a few cushioned benches. Quickly they booked us in and took us down a path to our room. Everything was green and lush… like we were in a garden. Our room was fantastic. We
entered into a small sitting room and then through a door way we entered a large bedroom complete with comfortable bed, flat screen TV and small balcony. The bathroom was a room with a view! Large windows overlooked the gardens and palm trees outside. To shower a blind was drawn to give you privacy.
Stay tuned for more…. next time our R & R in Mui Ne.
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