Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 134 - Tearing Up Some Sand Dunes

I've just had one of the most exhilarating days of my trip.  I'm in the coastal Vietnamese town of Mui Ne, which is known for its wind surfing and its sand dunes.  Not really being that interested in wind surfing, Mallary and I hired a scooter and found our way to the sand dunes.

There are two types of dunes to play in here; white and red.  The red ones are close to town, and not quite as picturesque, then there are the seemingly endless white dunes.  After quickly arriving at the red dunes, we decided to carry on the 20 some kms to the white dunes first.  With our handdrawn map in hand, which tells us to just go straight for 'a short distance', then make a right, we thought it would be simple enough to get there.

After having no choice but to make two left turns, we started to voice our concern over the accuracy of the map.  Inevidably, we got lost.  Quite a bit lost.  Once the road markers started telling us how close we were getting to the next town, and consequently, how far from Mui Ne, we knew we weren't going the right way.  We pulled the scooter over and flagged down a local.  Although he didn't speak any English, he knew exactly were we wanted to go, and pointed us back in the right direction.

As we approached a left turn, about 10 minutes of driving later, we stopped and peered down a dirt track. A Vietnamese woman, who was lying in a hammock out the front her house said "yes, yes" and pointed down the road. We loved that this Vietnamese woman knew exactly what we were looking for just because we were two Westerns on a scooter!

What was just beyond the next corner was really beyond words.  As we got closer and closer, I couldn't believe we had stumbled upon a mini desert.  Sand dunes reaching the sky as far as the eye could see! We paid our 15,000 dong (AU$0.75!) for a plastic sheet that we would use as a sled to tear up the dunes!

We spent the next best part of an hour sliding down the dunes, having the time of our life, and then painstakingly running back up the dune to go again.  It felt like we had stepped into a postcard for the Sahara desert, and we were only a couple kilometres from the ocean!

It was definitely the best fun I've ever had for 75c, plain and simple fun, like being a kid again.  If you're ever in Vietnam, do NOT skip Mui Ne! (Even if it means you will be finding sand in every possible crevice of your bags, clothes, shoes for the rest of your trip!)

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