Lily is here! She made it safe and sound, and boy, is it great to have her company. Lily is one of those friends who even though we've been apart for 7 months, it doens't feel like a day has passed! We met at a little retaurant on Thursday, which so perfectly happend to be Thanksgiving!
Instead of going the traditional Turkey route (which is quite difficult to track down in Vietnam anyways!) we met up with a friend of a friend named Nick who has been living here for 3 years working for a University. Boy did we live it up from that moment on! He treated us to a wonderful Sushi dinner downtown. We stuffed our faces. I would say that if there is anything I would rather eat than traditional food on the holidays, it would have to be Sushi! Mostly because I can eat so much of it! We gorged ourselves and then jumped on the back of his motorbike (that's right, 3 people on one!) and went to a really fancy bar downtown and had some cocktails. We ended up staying out pretty late and were feeling it the next morning!
We got up at 7:30 and went to the Cu Chi tunnels, the infamous tunnels of the Viet Cong during the war. We had a killer tour guide (complete with Karaoke songs including "In the army now" and "we are the world" with an adorable Vietnamese accent) and got to crouch through the tunnels briefly. You wouldn't believe how small the Vietnamese people would have to be to fit in these tunnels. Some of them lived there for months (maybe years!)hiding from the Americans. There were also still craters from the B-52s that we dropped there. It was pretty crazy, and quite the experience, despite the fact that it was pretty touristy and loaded with a healthy spread of cheese!
After that, Lils went to check out the War Museum that I had visited a few days earlier. She agreed with me that it was pretty depressing (obviously) but was glad that she saw it. After our big day, we went to the market, then to the travel agency that we used for the Tunnels and booked out Open Bus ticket for Vietnam. For $22, you can book this tour that takes you all along the west coast of the country from Saigon all the way up to Hanoi, the northern "capital city". Once you buy the ticket, you are able to stop wherever you want (mostly more developed areas) and stay for as long as you'd like. When you are ready to leave and travel on, you just catch the but the next day and off you go! Our next stop will be in Dalat, which is one of the most poular honeymoon spots for Vietnamese due to the fact that the scenery is spectacular. There are waterfalls and every sort of outdoor activity you could ever want to do including rafting, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, everything! We'll probably do another trek in the mountains there, which we are both really looking forward to. They have an excellent eco-tourism program in Dalat much like they did at the place I trekked in Northern Laos.
Yesterday we arrived here in Muine, and I'll tell you, now I feel like I'm on vacation! We are staying literally 15 steps from the sand (I counted) and the South China Ocean is beautiful! For some reason, there are not a lot of tourists around, (maybe the weather scared them off, or perhaps it's just not so well known yet!) and this place has such a peaceful charm to it. Short palm trees that just fit above your beach chair, endless flesh-toned sand that stretches for miles, the hint of an island off in a distance, killer Pina Coladas, and the freshest seafood. Last night we got Crab (that we picked out live) steamed in coconut water, and it was simply fabulous. We are going to have it again tonight it was soo good...and cheap! Only $4 which is nothing compared to your other options of noodles and chicken at $3!
First thing we did this morning when we woke up was jump in the ocean. Feels like home. What a great opposite to the city life of Saigon! INstead of falling asleep to the sounds of motorbike horns, we are now falling asleep to the sound of (loud) crashing waves...Oh, and did I mention the weather is perfect? 80 degrees, and barely a cloud in the sky! We plan on sledding in the multicolored sand dunes, and boogie boarding while we are here. I've heard that the sledding is awesome. Little vietnamese children rent you the sleds, and help you get up the hill! Sarah, I'm wondering if this is where you did this?
Ahhh, rough life I tell ya! More in a few days! Only 30 shopping days till Christmas!