So we arrived to Mui Ne to the welcoming smile of Jamie (the hostel manager) who kindly showed us to our lovely dorm room and told us to chill out during the day but be ready for the 9pm drinking session that night.We had had quite a funny bus ride on from Nha Trang with me making the mistake of wearing silky trousers on the bus and then picking a bed which was right at the end of the aisle so basically every time the bus braked sharply I went shooting down my bed into the aisle, just catching myself before I went plummeting from the top bunk to the floor.So when we arrived we were in good spirits, especially because the weather was turning, it was getting sunny and hot again - a good dose of vitamin D was exactly what my body was calling for so I was excited.
Mui Ne is a cool little beach spot on the east coast of Vietnam and if there is one thing which makes it different to the beach towns I have been to before it's the Kites.Every day the sun comes up and the Kite surfers appear, Mui Ne is perfect as its hot and sunny but has a beautifully warm breeze which is more than strong enough for the kite surfing enthusiasts who flock to this town.I have spent many a (mainly hung over) day sitting in some comfy shaded spot listening to some music and watching the hundreds of big brightly coloured kites swoop through the sky like a confused flock of starlings and when the wind is just right I marvel at the air acrobatics the kite surfers perform as the kites lift them from the sea and high into the air providing enough height for them to do tricks.It's so cool to watch and something I would love to try one day, especially after flying power kites with my dad last summer and thoroughly enjoying it.
Like I said at the beginning of our first evening here a group hostel dinner had been arranged at the restaurant over the road followed by drinks, I have come to realize that this is a daily ritual organized by Jamie and much appreciated by all us single travelers out there, its such a great way to meet people and make friends.That first night there was 35 of us at dinner and then just over 50 at the bar afterwards - me and the Canadian girls had such a laugh especially as we had a lot of free drinks and therefore danced a hell of a lot too.By the end of the evening Jamie was our new best friend and therefore we got to help design some of the nights out - our best and most successful creation was the scavenger hunt day followed by the mini golf night …
So during one of our evening meals with our hostel crowd we got chatting about having a themed night, Jamie has an imagination bigger than his ego and came out with some ridiculously flamboyant ideas but in the end a suggestion by me and the girls was liked by all and arranged for 2 days time.When the day came around we had been joined in Mui Ne by Sophie and Dan (friends from further up the coast) and we were all ready and raring to go! Part one of the day was a scavenger hunt which had been designed by Jamie earlier that morning, we all met at the hostel that afternoon after some tanning time on the beach and were put into groups depending on nationality so obviously I was taken away from my lovely girls but still remained in a totally awesome group with Dan and Sophie and a random guy named Luke who was obsessed with his oversized slightly stupid looking timberland boots - they just made him look like a cartoon and freakishly lanky.
After some rule talk and the handing out of the challenge sheets we were off! There were around 30 challenges on the sheet both group and individual including getting handcuffed to a policeman, catching a fish, getting a picture of a Russian guy in a speedo and also getting a picture of a group member sat on a cow, the last one is a lot harder than it sounds because the damn animals won't stay still.I had a great afternoon, climbing trees, trying to fit 4 of us in an ATM box and having my fingernails painted in gordy rainbow colours but sadly team awesome England did not win L but on the plus side my friends on team Canada did win! Yey. Im was so pleased they beat team America as they had been trying to sabotage all the other teams all afternoon.
After a fun filled day where I ran round pretending to be Anika Rice we headed into an even more fun filled night time! It was crazy golf with a twist time and possibly one of the funniest evenings in Vietnam.The idea of crazy golf is obviously to get the ball from the start line into the whole in the least amount of shots - our version is slightly different …. The idea of Crazy Crazy golf with a twist is to, like normal crazy golf, get the ball in the whole as efficiently as possible but with our version you don't need to follow the route laid out by the course.For example I decided the shortest route is always a straight line and so in my drunken state took on a happy Gilmore approach and started just wacking the ball straight over the course and idealy getting a hole in one - obviously the chances of that happening are slim to none and instead at one point my ball went hurtling over the fake castle walls and shot straight over a womans head just slicing at her hair as it went! Haha I was so giddy from the amount of gummy bear vodka I had consumed I could barely get the words "I'm soooo sorry out" as I ran over to the lady and after failing in my apology pulled it together to act like an 8 year old and ask the kind old lady for my ball back.Now you may be wondering why I was slightly under the influence? Well there is a simple explanation for that which is that in our version of crazy golf for every shot you go over par you have to drink a shot - so if you are meant to do the hole in 3 shots and you do it in 5 you do 2 shots of vodka - also if you go under par you can nominate someone else to drink the shots.Now seen as me and Amber were on a team with Jamie and 2 other English / welsh lads who have played golf before and aren't light weights like us girlies me and Amber got progressively worse and there for progressively drunker throughout the night, yet oddly I also got more stupidly confident as I strut around the course slinging my golf club over my shoulder (almost knocking Amber out about 20 times) talking in a posh "tally ho there old chap" type of voice, in my head I was wearing a tweed suit, smoking a pipe, with a monocle and I was playing ultimate crochet ha ha.The night was so much fun though, yet it was a bit too much for some as after around 30 shots of vodka Amber swayed her way over the road to wax bar where we all danced and chatted and she passed out on a bean bag on the beach - but in true Amber form she woke up ready and raring to go only 1.5 hours later happily dancing away with her eyes closed.
I did have some fantastic nights out in Mui Ne but I also had some brilliant days, one of which was spent with the owner of the hostels wife.One day after watching glee in reception me and the girls started chatting about a cooking class we were considering doing down the road when John (hostel owner) piped up and said that his wife would gladly teach us how to cook our favorite dish Pho for a quarter of the price, we would just need to pay for the ingredients.I'm really pleased that we decided to do cooking with Twee because it was so much more informative, it began with an early trip to the market where we got to witness real Vietnamese life, I think we were the only non local people in the market and it was great, Twee got us fresh smoothies and explained all about the meat and fish that were on sale, how they are farmed or caught, the way the Vietnamese decide which animal to kill and how to tell if what your buying is fresh.I was so surprised at the cost of everything we bought we quite literally paid pence for fresh king prawns and saw buffalo meat on sale for around 50p a steak which would serve 4 - we thought the restaurants in Vietnam were ridiculously cheap but the local prices are insane! I completely took for granted the food in Vietnam, the fresh fish quite literally caught an hour before then cooked up in chilli and garlic with some rice on side and it would cost next to nothing - I would later eat the best meat of my life in Saigon where I had slow cooked pork and I could have eaten 10 portions of it if they hadn't of sold out, I desperately wanted the recipe but the cook didn't speak English L
Our cooking class with B lasted most of the day as the meat used in pho has to be boiled in stock for 7 hours, so 3 times during the day we popped over to B's kitchen to witness the next stage of the creation of pho and at around 6pm we were done and the pho and spring rolls were ready to eat and I have to say that after a full days cooking the Pho was amazing.I am writing this blog after leaving Vietnam and I have to say that my mouth still waters when I think of Pho - its just noodle soup with beef but there's something about it that has got me hooked, I'm definitely going to be making it for you all when I come home later this year.
Apart from eating and drinking I also had a great day with my hostel sand surfing.We all set off after lunch in jeeps and drove up to stop one which is a waterfall, but to get to it you have to wade ankle deep through the gorge with sand dunes made of bright orange sand on either side it was really pretty and a nice little walk.We then headed off to the White Dune for some sand surfing, we hired a board for 50p from one of the local beggars and made our way up the dunes.Now I don't know how many of you have tried to walk up a sand dune but its exhausting and tiring - its feels like a natural tread mill, you try and try and try and in the end your still basically in the same position as when you set off!
Eventually we all made it to the top and after some hesitation we started surfing down the dunes, after some funny incidences such as Erika not quite understanding the concept and instead of flying down managed to go so slow that we got bored of watching her and when she finally arrived at the bottom and turned to get our claps and approval she received a small amount of giggles and then a lot of general looks of confusion.However everyone got the hang of it eventually all racing down and then struggling to get back up - that is everyone except me, every time I set off instead of gliding over the sand down to the bottom I ended up like a human ostrich burying myself head first into the sand, arse in the air - making a tit out of myself yet again.I gave up in the end and decided to have pictures of me taken jumping up and down with the lovely landscape of the dunes behind - a much more productive way to spend my time.
I really enjoyed Mui Ne, I loved the little sense of family our hostel had with John and twee acting as our parents ensuring we eat well - like when they took me and the girls to their favourite fish restaurant by the sea for dinner, they also helped us out with tips on the best places to shop, eat and drink.Then there was our big brother Jamie who would get us into random trouble but stick up for us and take the wrap for it at the end - such as when he opened the bar in the hostel for us and when John came out to complain Jamie took the fall.And of course me and the girls were the kids, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the weather made the beach a pleasure to be on, the company made our nights a hell of a lot of fun (Jamie's cocktail gun and limbo being perfect examples) and overall it was a great place to end our trip together.You see after 3 weeks with Amber and Hannah it was time for us to part, they were on a shorter time scale than me so I decided to chill in Mui Ne for a couple more days whilst they had to head off.I was really sad to see the girls leave, I can honestly say that I was so pleased to have met them, we all have the same sense of humour, same interests and the same happy out look on life and I hope that we are going to be friends for life - I'm already thinking of going to Canada for a visit the year after I get home.
Bye Bye my lovely little Canadian friends - Hello the countdown to Australia!!