Day 70: Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All

For the third day in a row we got up early, 6:40am. We had to be at the bus pick up point for ten past seven. We arrived with 10 minutes to spare, so ordered breakfast to tide us over. The bus arrived around quarter to eight, the driver and his buddy were in a rush to get us, and our bags all on board. The journey lasted around five hours, during the one stop we had, we were entertained by a tiny fluffy puppy. There was also another dog play fighting with a kitten. The roads were quite shoddy along the way, with numb bums developing with each pothole we hit. The skies outside began to clear, and the sand dunes stood in the distance resembled golden mounds of sugar sparkling away. That’s when we knew we were approaching Mui Ne… That, and the fact each rider on a scooter was of different ethnicity.

When we pulled up at the Singhtour services, we arranged our final bus trip to Saigon for two days time, giving us only 48 hours to see what Mui Ne had to offer. Our hotel was only a stones throw away. We made our way there, checked in, and showered. We then headed out the door to find 2 things. Somewhere to eat, and our friend Jamie. He told us on Facebook that he was nearby and that he’d meet us after we ate. In Mui Ne it helps if you hire a scooter to get around, being slightly cautious of the other reckless drivers I preferred to walk. It was one long stretch of road, everything you needed was right on the doorstep, everything but Jamie’s hostel. According to Google maps it was only a minute walk away, it turned out it was actually 2 or 3 kilometres away. After eating some noodles at a nearby restaurant to get some energy, we soldiered on down the street.

When we reached Mui Ne backpackers we just so happened to bump into the man himself on the doorstep. He told us of a Christmas dinner that his hostel was arranging, we spoke to the man behind reception and he let us join everyone else later that night. Jamie then introduced us to his two new friends, Vicky and Jasmine. Vicky was from Australia, she had shortish auburn hair, was fairly tall and had a noticeable tattoo of a tree on her right shoulder. Jasmine was a little pocket rocket, standing at around five two, she had shoulder length brown hair and was from Canada. The four of us then made our way next door for some drinks. We stayed there for several hours, during which time we discussed what we could do in Mui Ne. Several activities were discussed such as wind surfing, kite surfing, normal surfing… surfing the web? As well as quad biking on the dunes, mostly Mui Ne was a place to go if you wanted some action or to chill on a beach, but you’d have to be careful of the sudden tide which continuously came in as we sat around the table. With the time growing closer to the Christmas dinner, Sarah and I returned to our hotel to get ready.

We managed to flag down a taxi to take us back, and within 15 minutes the pair of us were ready to go. Getting a taxi back to our friends proved some what difficult though. It was both a good and bad thing I guess. The good point being it meant our taxi fare wouldn’t be as much, due to us walking while waving. The bad point, if we had to walk the whole way we’d be late. Luckily, one stopped and got us there with 10 minutes to spare. We grabbed a few beers and sat with Jamie while the others got ready. At half past six everyone, including the majority of the hostel, was ready to go. We walked like the animals of Noah’s ark, two by two, until we reached a bar named BambooBamboo. Here, all the tables (plus additional ones from the restaurant next door) were filled with people. Because of the population crisis it meant it took ages for our food to arrive. Somehow, even though Sarah forgot to order with the rest of us, she got her plate first. During dinner we met three new people, a girl from England named Rosie, a guy from Canada named Derek, and another girl from France named Jenny. The final part of the meal was the most complicated, with a good 15 of us sat around the table (as you can imagine) the bill was not so much fun. With the waiter struggling to manoeuvre between the chairs, he took our money one by one, then later came back with each of our change. Not wanting to wait for dessert a group of us walked to a local bakery.

When we left the restaurant we had drank alcohol, ordered and ate our food, even settled the bill before one tables food had arrived. Derek, Jenny, Jamie, Vicky, Jasmine, Sarah and I then went to a bakery. There wasn’t much left to choose from on account of it being so late, but I managed to grab myself a brownie. The group of us then made our way to the bar we were at earlier for more beers and card games. When we arrived it was a lot busier than it was before, we managed to locate a free table out the back where we played our favourite game, A******. When we grew tired of the games we moved to a more comfortable table, we remained there for the rest of the evening and saw in Christmas. I grew very tired thanks to the beer (which I swear had no alcohol in, after 7 beers I still felt sober), so Sarah and I decided to call it a night. We found a taxi, eventually, and got back to our hotel around 12:30am. I made a quick Skype call to my mum to wish her a Merry Christmas, seeing as we were seven hours ahead. I then returned to the room where we watched a bit of tv before falling asleep. Sarah felt extremely homesick because, 1. It didn’t feel like Christmas here… At all, and 2. She was missing her family at this festive time of year. With that, we’d like to end this blog by wishing everyone back home a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope you got everything you wished for and may 2013 bring you all the best. Xxx

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