When I woke up this morning I was surprised to see it was only 8.30 as I felt I had been asleep for days. I left Simon and the kids asleep and headed off to the bar to send a few emails. Eventually Mum and Paul appeared and I woke Simon, Ali and Maisie at 9.30 for breakfast.
Mum and Paul’s bungalow is in a prime position just by the beach and they have spent the past few days frying in the suns hot rays. The kids and I prefer the pool though and it’s very luxurious. As it is so hot in the daytime most people seem to want the beach breeze and the gorgeous pool is nearly always empty apart from us. We love swimming around in the warm sometimes hot water under the shade of the tall palm trees.
We have our lunch over the road and at 2pm set off in the back of a jeep on a trip. As there is very little to do around Mui Ne the local sights and attractions are lumped together in a combination trip and we have planned to visit the “Fairy Spring”, red and white sand dunes, the red canyon and a local fishing village.
We drive around 200 metres up the road and the fella stops, he motions that we should get out and we realise that we have arrived at the “Fairy Spring”. A small group of local children surround us and lead us up a path to the murkiest looking drizzle of a river I have ever seen. We soon realise that the general idea is that we should paddle along the stream bed to the waterfall at the end.
We do pass some pretty red and white rock formations on the way but given the fact that it is boiling hot, it takes us at least half an hour to get there and the waterfall turns out to be only around 5ft high I reckon it must win a prize for the crappest attraction so far on a our trip.
Back in the jeep and we soon reach the fishing village. As we pull up loads of children run up with trays of shells to sell. We tell them firmly that we want to see their village first before we buy anything from them. We walk down the steps to the beach and Simon gets some beautiful photographs. A little girl clutches onto my hand and we chat as we walk along. She tells me she doesn’t go to school, too expensive and that her mother has a bad chest. When we get back to the jeep I agree to buy a few shells. Simon points out that every dollar we give them encourages their parents not to send them to school but I figure that at least they aren’t out begging.
Next we arrive at the white sand dunes, they are lovely but we felt we had all seen equally impressive dunes elsewhere in the world and were more interested in the sand sledging. What a rip off really!! The local kids charge 20000 dong per slide on a piece of laminate plastic and the sand gets everywhere. Still we have a great time, we laugh at the children they really are so enterprising we admire their tough little spirits and relentless exploitation of tourists! Our kids are so great chatting away with no shyness whatsoever and I’m proud that although they both have humanitarian spirits and acknowledge and recognise how poor it is in some areas here they aren’t stupid and refuse to be ripped off by the Vietnamese kids!
We tell the driver we’re not too fussed about seeing the red dunes but stop off quickly at the red canyon. We are all tired and refuse to get out of the jeep but Simon wanders off to get a photo to show us later on the laptop!
When we get back its takes ages to shower off the mixture of sun cream and sand and we lie on the bed watching the telly. There are some really interesting programs on the discovery channel and soon the kids are engrossed in a documentary about The Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Maisie in particular likes learning ancient Egyptian history and was very disappointed when we visited Egypt not to visit Cairo. I promise her we will take her one day.
We then start watching a documentary called The First Emperor of China about the Terracotta Army. We end up ordering take out pizza and lying on the bed watching TV. It’s good for the kids to see and a bit of an easier way for them to research our next destination. Mum and Paul have their meal and join us for a quick beer. Later we all crash out completely knackered, our bit of exercise today has done us in.