We think that means hello... but don't quote us on that...
Anyways, so ten days after reaching Vietnam we have learned a valuable lesson. How to cross the road when it is teaming with motorbikes, taxis and bicycles... none of which seem at all inclined to let you pass, and street lights are non-existant. It's all in the puppy dog eyes (is there anything they aren't good for?). You take your first step out into the street, making sure to look those psycho drivers right in the eye, silently pleading with them not to run you over. Even when they seem to be swerving towards you, maintaining eye contact is key. Also, the biggest mistake you could make would be to hesitate. You hesitate, you die. In fact, we barely even flinch anymore when those motorbikes are headed right for us...
Aside from crossing roads, the past couple of days have been quite busy. From Ho Chi Minh, we headed to Mui Ne, a quiet little beach town further north. We arrived there and were promptly greeted by some friendly hotel people, who offered us a bungalow on the beach with a clean shower (!!) and fans for the wonderful price of 4$/night. We took it. We spent the rest of the day on the beach, taking Top Model pictures in the sand (you don't get to see any of those... it was a joke) and trying to get a tan.
The next day, we visited the sand dunes, which is what Mui Ne is famous for. We bought a tour package, hopped on a rickety old Jeep big enough just for the three off us and headed off. Our first stop was a hotel, where we picked up three more people!! They sat in the trunk!!! Oh my! Anyways, it turns out they were awesome. Two British guys and an Irish girl with whom we are now officially in love. So our guide (I say guide, but I mean glorified Jeep driver) first dropped us off at the "Fairy Stream" and told us we had forty minutes... then he left us surrounded by small children more than willing to lead the way. So, bare feet, we followed them down a dinky little stream. We're not too sure why it's called the "Fairy Stream" but it is. The walk was quite uneventful until the end when the kids started asking for money. We would give them some and then they'd pull out the puppy eyes and say "One more? One more?" It was quite funny actually...
Then we went to the white sand dune, where we were once again attacked by children. These ones were trying (quite persistently) to get us to give them 50000 dong for one crazy carpet ride down the dune. At first, we declined politely, but then they kept at it... so it got messy. We ended up asking for a demonstration, and then running away when they went down. Naturally, they caught up... but it was funny nonetheless.
After that we saw the yellow sand dunes... They looked just like the white ones. The best part about them was that we got to witness our first Vietnamese chick fight. It was pretty intense. Of course, not speaking the language, we had no idea what they were fighting about (probably a boy), but there was some serious slapping and yelling going on.
Then we saw the red canyon, which was quite a trek, but well worth the views from the top. We got really dirty... the combination of red sand, small passages on the way down and rain is just asking for trouble.
Finally, we got to see the fishing village. It smelled. That's all.
All this was done, of course, with our "guide" just dropping us off at each place and leaving us to fend for ourselves... interesting way of doing it, but it worked out.
That night, at 1 am, we caught the bus to Nha Trang. Here, we visited a rather impressive pagoda with a Giant Seated Buddha at the top overlooking the town and we went on the world's crappiest boat tour of the surrounding islands. The best part of the tour was when the ugliest swimsuit of all time got tossed overboard. It was a bit sad for the woman who lost it, but overall, humanity has been done a favour.
Tonight, we are taking an overnight (12 hour) train to Hue. What we'll do there is undetermined as of yet, but surely it'll be entertaining!
See you soon!
Steph, Kris and Jo