Tuesday, Dec. 8th (Mui Ne Day 14)

  • Overslept a bit and went directly to the kiteboarding school around 11am.
  • The wind was already strong so I geared up and hit the water.
  • I was using a 9 meter kite which is a lot more responsive than the 12 and 13 meter kites that we usually use.  For some reason today nothing seemed to click for me.  I had several crashes and spent more time than I would have liked on board retrieval.  The conditions were also tricky: gusty with large ocean waves and many other kiters on the water.  On a couple occasions my kite just crumpled in mid air and went tumbling into the water.  Nevertheless, I made decent progress, trying several jumps off of kicker waves and successfully switching directions without having to stop, sink, and get up again.
  • Cory took over after me and spent an hour and a half on the water working on the same kiting skills.
  • We worked for an hour on the beach from 3-4pm and were able to convince several people to check out happy hour at VKS (Vietnam Kiteboarding School).
  • One of the instructors invited us to dinner at his friend Huang’s restaurant (Huang also runs a kiteboarding school down the beach and was the first owner to offer us a promotional job).  We accepted and invited our friends from Belgium, Valerie and Ruth, to join.
  • Took 30 minutes to freshen up at the hostel then drove all 4 of us to the restaurant on our motorbikes.
  • Dinner was a unique experience.  All 7 of us, Bay (our instructor), Huang , Valerie, Ruth, Alex (our colleague from Spain), Cory, and I, sat at our own private table on a raised platform in front of the restaurant.  We ate grilled fish that I had watched Bay pull out of the ocean that morning and boiled chicken that had also been killed that morning.  The chicken was unlike any chicken we’ve had before.  It came out as a bald, boiled bird (head, feet, and all) on a plate.  Bay cut it into pieces with scissors and we all dug in with chopsticks and hands, dipping the chicken into delicious rice soup and enjoying morning glory vegetables on the side.  We had beer and happy water (Vietnam’s special home made rice alcohol) to wash it all down and sat for a couple hours enjoying the company, food, and drink.
  • Returned to work for a couple hours which turned into a party on the sidewalk in front of VKS.  We bought beer and rum and slowly added more backpackers from the street to our group as we convinced them to join in the fun.
  • Went to Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel (which actually has nothing “budget” about it, besides perhaps the price of rooms) for another drink and to drop off Valerie and Ruth.
  • Cory wasn’t feeling well and went home to bed early, as did Alex.
  • Bay, Huang, one of our new additions from the street, Jakub from Slovakia, and I started heading home but then decided to stop at Bay’s apartment for a final drink.  We got Saigon beers and sat cross-legged on Bay’s stoop drinking and laughing.
  • Made a final stop on the way home for some late night food (it felt late… by this time it wasn’t even midnight) before hitting the bed hard.

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