Archive for the 'Mui Ne' Category

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore (And I Eat ‘Em)

Mui Ne Postcard

Mũi Né II

Mui Ne is like crack. Once you start, it’s difficult to stop. Or so I’ve heard. The Astronomer and I had our first Mui Ne hit a couple weeks back and we had such a bloody blast that we returned this past weekend. The occasion? Hawk‘s 27th.

This time around we rented a sweet mini-bus to get us there. We left Saigon at six in the evening and arrived in Mui Ne at half past ten. Definitely far speedier than a tour bus. We stayed at our favorite hotel Sunshine Beach.

The next morning started off with a giant strawberry pancake. I love the pancakes at Sunshine Beach so much that I had another one for dinner. It’s been so long since I’ve had real maple syrup that I find Aunt Jemima palatable. Sadness.

The Astronomer had some mighty fine French toast. No brioche, but still very lovely. I ate his bananas. Score. After breakfast, Hawk, The Astronomer and I walked along the beach collecting sea shells and jumping over mysteriously warm “rivers” draining into the beach. And before we knew it, it was time for lunch.

The boys at Jibes.

Food porn alert! The Astronomer ordered fresh tagliatelle with pesto. The pasta was al dente and the sauce tasted wonderfully fresh.

Hawk ordered a cheeseburger. The meat was pan-fried rather than grilled, which resulted in a most satisfactory burger. EDIT: By “most satisfactory” I meant plain ‘ol satisfactory. English wasn’t my first language.

I grabbed some Vietnamese food next door at a restaurant named Lam Tong (92 Nguyen Dinh Chieu) and took it back to Jibes to eat with the boys. I ordered some bun gao (rice noodles with tofu and vegetables), which was just what I was in the mood for. Deep-fried tofu has a wonderful way of soaking up seasonings.

I also procured some cha gio to share. They were supposed to be stuffed with seafood, but all I could taste was pork. Following lunch, we all went to our rooms and crashed even though we had good intentions of kayaking. After napping, The Astronomer and I went for a run. Afterwards, I had a mango pancake for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things.

The next morning started off with another run, which was followed by a dip in the ocean and breakfast. I wish I could have breakfast here every morning. The ambiance is just unbeatable.

Here’s The Astronomer eating toast with jam in his sopping running shorts.

For his main, The Astronomer ordered a croque-monsieur that was made with Laughing Cow cheese rather than gruyère. Regardless, it was still a great melted cheese sandwich.

I had my third pancake of the weekend. It was a delightful pineapple number.

After breakfast we read on the beach, while Hawk played golf at the Novatel.

When Hawk came back from the greens, we jammed over to Lam Tong for a Vietnamese lunch.

Hawkins requested that we order tofu, which was cool by me because I love the stuff. We settled on the sweet and sour variety.

We also ordered some vegetables in curry. It turned out that vegetables meant scallions and onions, which was a bit disappointing.

The ca kho was the best of the bunch. I can’t tell you what fish it was, but I can tell you that it was super-fatty. The caramelized sauce was nearly too sweet, but there was just enough fish sauce to keep it from tasting like candy. After lunch, we headed to the red sand dunes a couple kilometers up the road.

Hawk was pulling a Michael Jackson and walked around with an umbrella to protect himself from the sun

Hawk trying to snowboard upon the peaceful patterns in the sand.

The boys on the dunes.

The Astronomer sledding down the hill with a little assistance from a small boy who later beat the crap out of all of us. Note to self: make sure to negotiate sledding price before partaking!

Hawk getting in a killer work out in between sledding.

Exhausted. Happy Birthday, man.

Mũi Né

After months of hardcore training, The Astronomer and I packed up our bags and headed to Mũi Né for the Le Fruit Triathlon. Although I was tempted for maybe five minutes to participate, I knew that I couldn’t hack the swimming and cycling portions of the race so I settled comfortably into my role as cheerleader.

We left Saigon late Friday afternoon. Although the advertised trip duration was four hours, the ride lasted closer to six. The bus pulled over at a rest stop about 1.5 hours into the trip and I impulsively bought some Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels that really hit the snacky spot. The pretzels had a certain ‘New Jersey Turnpike secret flavor factory’ taste that I hadn’t experienced in months. Living abroad does strange things to me, I wouldn’t normally eat this stuff in America.

When we finally arrived in Mũi Né, I went for a late night run and we passed out soon after.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early and took advantage of our hotel’s (Sunshine Beach) complimentary breakfast. I ordered a mango pancake. I don’t know what it is about pancakes, but EVERY hotel in the whole country serves them. I’ve had decent pancakes in Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, but these ones were the best because they were fluffy and substantial. Minus points for fake maple syrup.

Afterwards, I read on the beach and went for a walk. Which reminds me, white people love reading by the water.

The view from our room’s balcony. Mũi Né really is gorgeous.

Hey, look who finally woke up!

After The Astronomer pulled himself out of bed, we headed to Jibes Beach Club a few meters down the beach to register for the triathlon, collect his race number, claim his bike, etc. I cheered on the sidelines while this was all happening.

All that cheering made me hungry so I had a panini with pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella at Jibes. Looks tasty, right? It was. The rest of the day was spent napping, reading and taking advantage of the hotel’s wireless Internet. Ah, this is what vacationing is all about! I eventually made myself go for a run and then we headed to Jibes again for dinner. Sometimes choice is overrated.

In preparation for his triathlon debut, The Astronomer carbo-loaded with a hefty plate of penne with pesto sauce.

In a pasta mood as well, I had the home made beef ravioli in a Bolognese sauce. Both pastas were very good, but they took forever to come out. The waitress tried to tell us that our food was taking a long time because of the penne. Riiiiight…

After dinner we watched The Pelican Brief on DVD because we had both recently read the book. Note to self: do not watch a movie adaptation soon after reading the book—you will be disappointed. Then we hit the hay.

Race day! Can you spot The Astronomer?

After the open water swim, The Astronomer was in the middle of the pack. Maybe he would’ve been in the front had he worn Speedos or a wrestling uniform.

Gastronomer! Take my goggles.

While The Astronomer was biking on the sand dunes and running on the beach, I got in my own workout (so no pictures of those segments). After showering up at the hotel, I headed toward the finish line.

I came five minutes too late and missed The Astronomer’s triumphant first-place finish. Dang! Congrats! You rule!

After his victory, The Astronomer was hounded by the media for interviews. He granted one to HTV, a Vietnamese station.

The BEST question was: “Did you know that you would be champion?”

After the media hoopla, we headed to our hotel for breakfast. The Astronomer had the mango pancake, while I had a strawberry one. Once again, a great pancake with lots of fruit in the batter.

For the third time in 24-hours, we headed to Jibes for post-race festivities i.e. awards ceremony, buffet lunch, etc.

The buffet lunch included banh khot.

Unlike the banh khot I had prior, these were more pillowy than crispy and were stuffed with scallions rather than topped with meat.

Even though the bus ride sucks, Mũi Né is a SUPERB beach destination. I hope to return next weekend for Hawk’s birthday. Eee!

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