After two weeks here tomorrow morning we say goodbye to Mui Ne and the Villa Aria and head off to the train station to go to Saigon.
After the mini bus drive down here we decided to go back on the train. first class is US$15 one way and though it takes 5 hours the same as the road trip everyone says that it it a nicer way to travel . I’ll let you know.
So I guess I should do an impressions of blog today . Donald Rumsfeld the U.S. Secretary of Defence under Dubya Bush always used to annoy me with his asking a question of himself and then answering it at press conferences and the like. Unfortunately most politicians have now followed his lead and one of the first was of course Tony Blair. “Did I know the intelligence dossier was sexed up ? Well let me talk through this ” on so on. Of course I will now proceed to do the same !
Would I return to Mui Ne ? Well let me use a sketch from that great sixties classic stage show Beyond the Fringe to answer that one
So like Perkins the answer is goodbye not au revoir . Why ? Well lots of reasons really most of which I have covered on the blogs from here but mainly a feeling that it is all very false. The place has no soul because all that is done here is tourism and the locals very clearly commute in and out each day on the local buses and live their real lives elsewhere.
The Villa Aria is a very small hotel in terms of ground size and I’m sure is delightful when occupancy is 60% but full it is a bit of a nightmare and more so when a group of 10 Russians are here. Probably any group would dominate such a small space but given their actual physical size as well they have taken it over. The other guests have retreated to the beach and left them to the pool and breakfast has become a battle ground. Enough said.
It has been raining off and on for the last two days and the waves crashing in have been enormous driving the fishermen in their boats further out to sea. The inshore ones fishing for shrimp have been confined to barracks . this is especially true as they put to sea in what can only be described as circular bath tubs.
Seriously two or three fishermen go out in these every morning at sunrise to trawl for shrimp. they are made of moulded fibreglass by the looks of them and look like this on the inside
The paddle is used like a single oar to propel it along .
Along the beach are dotted the older version of the plastic bath tub made out of rattan and at the fishing village I went to yesterday these older ones were more in evidence.
Now as any self respecting Welshman will tell you these are clearly coracles and indeed they are . Coracles of course were designed to get fishermen and people into low water areas so quite how or why they have ended up here who knows. They are found in Mui Ne, in Phan Thiet down the road and up in Nha Trang in Vietnam and in India, Tibet and Iraq or Eyeraq as Donald Rumsfeld would say. They are certainly not made for the swells they have here and hence the lack of fishing the last couple of days. The shrimp they catch are really small and they dry them by the sides of roads and turn them into paste.
I am off out to eat several of their much larger cousins helped down by yet more Saigon Green Label. Tomorrow evening I shall be back in Saigon and drinking and eating more cheaply. until then, and seeing as we started with beyond the fringe , I will leave you with Dudley Moore. I had the pleasure of flying one time in the seat alongside his from New York to London on the lunchtime Concorde. Almost Arthur like he said he had the world’s worst hangover and would I join him in a pre take off Bloody Mary having decided to not stick with a promise to himself when he awoke not to drink again. The Concorde landed too late with the time change for me to go to work that day so I did. One led to a few more and I then had a fabulous flight over with an hugely entertaining companion. What a talent he was.