Off into the deep blue yonder we travelled to a tiny fishing village by the name of Bai Shep to a guesthouse called Haven. And indeed it was. WE had instructions in Vietnamese to show the bus driver/s as we took a “seated bus” (not a tiny sleeper) to Quy Nhon a large vietnamese beach town. On the way there were two bus changes, one I almost missed when I went to the bathroom only to arrive back on our bus to find our luggage missing already loaded onto a minibus. I was not sure how or where we would get let off at but thought I’d just enjoy the ride.
Luckily the bus driver knew where to drop us off, on a tiny road in the middle of no where with a couple of signs. We managed to find our remote lodging and arrived in time for a communal dinner. We met Tanya and Mitch a lovely couple from Oakland (near San Diego), and Karl a hilarious Liverpudlian. Little did we know they were to be our faithful travel companions for the next week.
Our hosts arranged for the fishermen to take us to a nearby island for snorkelling, and swimming. They were very amused at our squealing in the coracle out to the fishing boat. Whilst on the island they picked mussels from the rocks, and made a small fire to roast and feed them to us!
We were coaxed into a communal dinner at the nearby town of Quy Nhon, the staff at both Haven (our guesthouse) and the next door backpackers (Big Tree) closed down for the evening and we all took taxis into the city to a small local seafood restaurant. They didn’t know what hit them! Some of the fishing families joined us too and there were about 20 of us all together!
We sampled all sorts of yummy seafood and other ‘local delicacies’ like embryo quail eggs….eek. Whilst also getting quite drunk on the local beer and vodka.
I’d made a slight mistake with our booking which had us staying in the backpackers next door for a few nights - an interesting experience as I’m told we are now Flashpackers - more money to spend then backpackers, we travel in couples and I have a wheelie bag rather than straight back pack.
Sleeping on the beach
Mitch Tanya Greg and I wandered up the beach after breakfast to look for Karl’s nudie beach (he found a secluded sheltered spot at the other side and decided to bare it all the day before!). Luckily he wasn’t in the buff there, but we did happen to meet a fantastically interesting fellow by the name of Henry, from Brighton.
Henry had bought a motorcycle (which kept breaking down), a hammock with fly net and proceeded to ride up the vietnamese coastline (whilst learning to ride manual) and stay in the most random villages. He’d offer people money to eat whatever they were cooking in their kitchens and had had an amazing time by all accounts.
We all (Mitch, Tanya and Karl too) extended our stay to be there for the annual Fishing Festival! We’d had all sorts of differing information about the festival in the village with reports ranging from 6am procession, to costumes and drums being played. All very exciting, so at 6am our little group all got up and wandered through a very sleepy town…..no drums, no music, no costume in sight. Even at the temple it was a bunch of fishermen we interrupted from breakfast. Who then proceeded to set up breakfast of congee, dried fish and noodles for us - with rice wine! Luckily us girls could beg off the wine, but the boys were left with absolutely no choice! Had ca phe sua da at the local “coffee shop” i.e. someones house where everyone congregated. Met officially the cutest little girl ever. (Sorry to my aussie girls your kids are cute too...)
After a disappointing and confusing morning we wandered back into Haven only to be told there is another festival just over the bay at a nearby village, this promised to be good. We crossed our fingers.
That night we were driven to another village and met with a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells. Hundreds of villages had turned out onto a crowded beach, selling spiced foods, noodles, the best roasted quail ever! (for 0.69c US,) drinking, buying toys and yelling over the blaring music. Greg was a celebrity and had photos with every girl in town. We quickly became the talking points and children gleefully smeared glitter all over us - making us one of the villagers!
Missing you all and having an amazing time. Please do comment, we love reading them!
Lots of love
J & G
Ps if you want to visit go to www.havenvietnam.com