Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

After dinner last night we stopped for Italian ice cream and sat with a couple from Kamloops. We heard about their travel in Vietnam and their winters spent touring Mexico. We also learned some a new phrase Không, cảm ơn (sounds like home, cam un) which means no, thank you. The street hawkers don't like it but they stop nagging at you to buy something from them. It was a nice evening for all, as they were passing time until they caught a 10 p.m. bus.

We are up with the rooster's crow. We both roll over hoping he will be quiet, but it is sunny out there and he keeps it up. Yes, we are in the middle of the city. We are now up for the day and it isn't even 6! Down for breakfast and then we make our booking for the next bus ride to Mu Nei beach area, just 5 and 1/2 hours down the road.

We are now going to see the big white buddha and ask the bus tour lady should be walk, rent a bike or take a taxi? She says taxi, we find one and are off. On the way at a stop light a man on a scooter pulls up beside us and is looking at us with great interest. Len says 'hi' the man says 'hi'. Len asks 'where you from'? The man and our driver burst out laughing.

We are glad we took the taxi, it is much farther than we had thought it would be. Luckily we didn't decide to walk as it is so hot out.

We arrive at the temple, not too many tourists around. We are bombarded by hawkers before we even get out of the car. Our new phrase, no thank you, really works very well. Then we are greeted by young people in blue shirts with name tags on, we had read about them in the Lonely Planet. They are a con. They profess to be working for the monks in the temple and will guide you for a fee, or sell you postcards, fans, or whatever. They are really working for themselves. So we keep on going up the 52 stairs and visit the temple first. We take our shoes off and are invited inside by one of the keepers. It is quite ornate on the walls and ceiling, there are two very large floor to almost ceiling candles on either side of a small buddha and then there is a larger buddha at the back. We were told we could take photos.

Shoes on and back outside and up more stairs to see a very large reclining buddha. Up more stairs to where a monk is ringing the bell by hitting it with a large swinging banger on the outside. Up more stairs to see the very large white buddha. We climb to the top landing and walk around. Out back there are rows and rows of little plaques naming all the monks, some we can read their dates and names, others are written in Vietnamese. We go into a little room at the back of the buddha at the base, again shoes off. It has several buddha and monks, raised outline, on the walls all around. A very ornate post in the centre being held up by turtle, it appears to be all once piece of carved wood. We rub the fat buddha's belly and the top of the carved turtle's head for wealth.

It is really busy now as bus loads of tourists have come while we we reading the plaques out back. We take a few more photos and then look for our driver. Len asks what now, it is hot and humid and not even 10 a.m. We decide not to take in the market, but head to the beach to see what is happening there.

Lots of people out walking, we ask how much to rent the beach chairs and decide that is what we will do this afternoon. We go to a store and get some packaged ham, cheese, fresh bread and some oranges to make up a lunch for the beach. We head back to the room and it is so nice and cool there that we decide to have lunch before going to the beach.

We pack up our books and water and spend the afternoon lying on chaise lounges under thatched umbrellas. The chairs are full and the younger people are all out on the sand just down from us. We see only a few people go in the water as it is so rough out there. There is a woman selling bananas to the people where we are sitting, and I guess the man who rents the chairs asks her to leave. She is not happy about this and expresses herself very vocally for quite sometime. The ones selling silk paintings seem to get away with coming into the chair area. Then a woman selling lobster and crab came by. She moves this all around on two baskets balanced on the stick over her shoulder! She has a coal fire with a pot of water on top in one basket, the other basket has a pot of water with lobster, crabs, you pick out which and how much you want and she cooks it for you right there. We were tempted to try a lobster but it would be just lobster without drawn butter. Maybe we will try it at the next beach. Soon the clouds roll in and we can't see the islands off shore. The wind picks up and everyone is packing up. We get back to the hotel just before the rain begins.

Out for dinner, pick up the laundry and head to the beach to have a look hoping the moon or at least a star would be visible, no luck it is all cloudy. We are packed and ready for another early start tomorrow morning. It has been raining on and off all evening. The storm is still off shore and coming around again. Hope the weather improves in Mu Nei.
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