© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated MuiNe day 3

Vietnam – Mui Ne – 20th-23rd January

After a good breakfast at the Lam Tong we checked out of our little place and moved over to Mellow. Luckily our room was ready so we dumped the bags got into our swim wear and headed to the beach, pretty much running in and enjoying the nice temperature. We played in the sea for a while swimming, trying to body surf and Helen got washed up. It made a refreshing change from earlier this month walking in our winter gear every day.

We did some research with J&J into our ideas for a Mekong tour, we were all quite convinced that a biking tour would be up our street so we looked into a few options and then hired a moto for the rest of the afternoon. We took ourselves up to the next village passing by markets, fishing boats and Pagodas. Children chased us around asking to look after our bike, we were teased into a temple and then asked for money which we didn’t have so made a sharp exit.

It was quite cloudy on our way back and so stopped for the stormy looking sky with the sun breaking through. Back in Mui Ne we ate at the restaurant where we had stayed the night before and enjoyed some lovely fish kebabs, the only downside was Jules was looking forward to a nice jacket potato but along came 2 very small potatoes wrapped up in foil turning out like hard boiled ones.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

After an early morning run up and down the beach followed by a swim we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Long Time before deciding on a route to go out on the scooter. After about 10 minutes of heading south of Mui Ne we were pulled over by the Police, we had no idea why they pulled us to start with; both of us were in helmets which is now the law in Vietnam, we weren’t speeding and we had driver’s licence…however we soon came to realise that they weren’t going to be pulling us over for any rational reason. They asked to see our licence or permit from the bike owner and took the bike from us placing it into a compound full of other bikes they’d already taken in that day. Dave had to pay for a moto-taxi back and forth to Mellow to pick up our details, and when we showed them to the Police they weren’t interested and insisted that we needed a Vietnamese licence. We knew this wasn’t the case and tried to argue our point even pointing to the Lonely Planet section on hiring bikes, but they weren’t interested and told us to leave.

So back to Mellow it was where we arranged to meet up with the owner and see what was going to happen, we knew there could be some kind of bribery involved and it was communicated that if the bike owner was to get his bike back from the Police then the total fine would be 1,000,000 dong which is $50! He asked us to pay half of this amount, to start with we asked a few questions with other bike companies and western people who’d been in the area for a while, but we learned that unless the fine was paid our bike owner would loose out on 10 days worth of trade. We also found out that many of the bigger companies pay a fee each month to the Police to avoid any problems like this with tourists. One comment that was made by a western man at Mellow went a little like this…”the police pull in a lot of bikes around this time of year…funny how it happens just before and after Tete…beer money!” Hmmmm! So another lesson learned and hopefully of some advice to those of you looking to rent bikes in this region. We decided to pay half to the man and be down with it, such an annoying start to the day and for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So back to the beach it was for the rest of a lovely afternoon, we didn’t let it bother us too much and enjoyed more swimming and relaxing. Later on we had a fab pizza from a restaurant about 10 minutes walk east of Mellow followed by an acoustic session with the Vietnamese version of a 70′s soul star at Joe’s bar – open 24 hours apparently.

22nd – Another day at Mui Ne

This was definitely the location for us Vietnam where we found some time to relax, obviously there are many tourists that travel through, the Russians use this area as their holiday destination but so do many professional kite surfers with the world championships taking place the previous week. You will often see the anticipation of kite surfers waiting for the wind, every day they wait for the right time, often getting ready and going home again after an hour of disappointment. Its good to see especially when the light is good.

We started the day again with running and swimming and the amazing fruit platter for breakfast from Long Time getting in a head start towards our 5-a-day. We decided to use the day once more for some beach action, earlier on there was some rain but by the afternoon it all cleared and we enjoyed a wonderful late afternoon sun, Dave even managed another run! This was followed by a moody golden sunset and we walked along the beach photographing what we saw along the way. You can learn to windsurf and kite surf on the beach and there are many schools offering this but it all costs money and was out of our budget but it is THE place in South-East Asia for Kite-surfing so no doubt the instruction will be top. Other activities around Mui Ne include the sand-dunes and various options of getting around them. We were heading this way when our bike was taken from us so we were quite happy not to spend anymore money getting around, but again have heard it’s a good afternoon option.

Our last evening in Mui Ne saw us go back to Joe’s for some Thai food, it was okay perhaps the portions were a little small for the cost but the atmosphere was good and we enjoyed more live music. Back to Mellow for our last night and the next morning we were due to leave at around 7.30am. Mellow were pretty good at offering us a discount for 3 nights stay with them, it’s always good to ask for discounts if you’re planning on staying a while.

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