Published: June 4th 2010June 4th 2010
So I woke up thinking today was a total bust. I had an 830am windsurfing lesson scheduled and overnight my feeling of minor illness went full-blown. I had the cough, the sneeze, the sore throat, and the body aches (which could just as well have been from sleeping on sunburned skin).
I had the receptionist call Jibe's Surf School to cancel my lesson, ate a quick breakfast and went back to bed until 11am. At first I thought the day was lost, but then I figured, I could be sick and still enjoy the beach (from the shade of a tiki umbrella). The English boys came over around 1pm, and had already rented two scooters (the third was windsurfing). I was contemplating joining them, but letting my fear get the better of me. See, the last time I tried to ride a scooter was in Mallorca, Spain, about 5 years ago. My boyfriend at the time had rented one, and I wanted to have a go of it. I quickly spun out of control, almost crashing before jumping the curb. It was enough for me, and I quickly gave up the idea of ever riding a motorbike or scooter again.
But... If ever there was a place to try, Mui Ne seemed it. There's really only one road, a paved highway, that runs along the beach. The offshoots and turns available are minimal, so getting lost seemed like it would be difficult (even for me). The focus could be purely on driving... well, the boys had caught on to my indecisiveness, so when I started humming and hawing over it, they took it as a no and went on their way.
A few minutes after they left, I put up my computer and said what the hell. I first rode down to their hotel to see if I could catch them, but they had left. Armed with no map and only a 5 minute course on how to work the gears and bike in general, I was off on my little yellow Honda.
It was the most fantastic experience ever! I loved it. I had a blast. I want to buy one. I want to travel the world on a bike now. It was wonderful. If you ever come to MuiNe- rent a motorbike. If I can do it, anyone can (actually, some of the boys did seem
to have minor troubles here and there). It was such a great experience! There was virtually no traffic outside MuiNe proper (town) and in the evening when the tour buses started to arrive.
I road along the coast (picture Pacific Coast Highway but cooler) where I passed red sand dunes, rolling hills, a small oasis, white sands dunes, the sea beating the shore, awesome boats big and small, cliffs, and a rock 'island'... and beach cows. That's right. I had to slow down or stop altogether on at least 3 occasions to get around herds of cows taking up the road. In some cases, they looked like ghosts forming from the sand of the dunes they strolled out of. I saw one heard walking right along the waves on the beach. Beach cows. Who'da thunk it?
Anyways, I was going away and pretty sure I was heading nowhere, until I saw some other foreigners on a bike ahead of me (British guys as well) and started seeing some Jeep's with foreigners coming from the direction I was heading, so I figured there had to be something ahead. It was the white sand dunes. Had I realized what a
test getting to them would be, I might have passed. The road went from paved to not very quickly, and the path was uneven, with rocks set in the ground jutting up as well as smaller gravel-likes stones scattered about the road. There was also the occasional patch where the surrounding sand had been blown across the path. It was a pretty hairy trail, and while I survived it with no injuries, I sure as hell don't recommend going this far to beginner's. The couple in front of me wiped out at one point where it was nothing but thick sand.
I got through it shaken (literally) but unscathed. From there it wasn't far to the white sand dunes. I parked my bike at a little hut that served food and drink. No charge to park (unusual) as long as a drink or something was ordered. I let the kid rent me a 'sled' for going down the dunes. It was just a cheap piece of flimsy plastic with a rope attached. For 10,000 dong (about 50 cents) I wasn't too worried about it. I started the walk to the dunes with a Korean guy and his Thai girlfriend
(the sand wipe-out couple). I realized after about 5 minutes of walking that I still had quite a hike to go, and that it would be dark soon and the raindrops I had felt coming in might turn the path quickly into a muddy disaster. I abandoned the plan and chance to sled the dunes in favor of getting home before dark. Plus, I was supposed to have my bike back in a little over an hour (by 6pm) and meet the guys for dinner.
It took me that long to get back, and I ran to the travel agent to try to sort out my exit plan for Mui Ne and Vietnam. I made it back about 20 minutes late. Dropped my bike and went to dinner with two of the guys (one also not feeling well) at Joe's. It's a bit pricier that most places to eat, but the quality, quantity, and taste of the food is fabulous. I got the Tuna Salad sandwich, and it came with fries and a salad- Delic'!
It's about 8:42pm now, and the guys are going out about 10pm in the Wax Bar (at their hotel). I'm still undetermined on
joining them, but it is a Friday night... We'll see how I feel after a nap ;)
There are more photos below