Thursday, Dec. 17th (Mui Ne Day 23)

  • Made it to the kiteboarding school by late morning to find some truly massive waves washing up on shore (thanks to the typhoon in the Philippines). Far bigger than yesterday and easily the largest we have seen since arriving in Mui Ne.
  • I tried body surfing for a bit but the waves were simply too big to catch without fins and the current was so strong that I would find myself 50 feet down the beach after one or two attempts.
  • Cory joined me at the kiteboarding school and we jumped on our motorbikes to head to Sea Links surfing beach.
  • The surfing was some of the most technical that we have ever attempted. Sea Links has an artificial concrete pier that wraps out into the ocean and causes the waves to curl down the length of the beach.  
  • Normally this creates ideal surfing conditions. However, the waves were so big today that it was difficult to even get past the edge of the pier. If you didn’t time jumping on your board and paddling out properly, the waves would burry you and wash you back up on shore.
  • After learning this the hard way a few times, we managed to paddle out into the lineup. But even here the current was so strong that it took a full effort to just stay in position, leaving limited strength to actually paddle for waves.
  • On one occasion, a giant wave washed out the whole lineup. I was too close to Cory and got bonked on the head by his board. Luckily it was a glancing blow and I continued with nothing more than a headache and a bump.
  • Nevertheless it was valuable experience and we still managed some nervy rides.
  • Returned to Mui Ne Beach for another quick lunch at Warung followed by a couple hours of promotional work on the beach and street.
  • For dinner we drove into the city of Phan Tiet with our friends Ugis from Latvia and Mathis from France. We started the culinary tour with a delicious DIY Banh Mi shop (Vietnamese sandwiches). For 40,000 VND (less than $2) we were served egg, beef, and pate, still cooking on a sizzling skillet with a baguette and assorted salad on the side. We each created our own sandwich to taste from the ingredients and left the small shop craving another full order.  
  • Next stop was a street stand that served delicious Vietnamese Pho soup. We each ordered a big bowl of Pho and followed it up with a strange local dessert: a mug full of warm, sweet porridge with assorted fruits and jelly candies inside. Definitely a different taste than we are used to but satisfying all the same. Total cost: 37,000 VND (again, less than $2)
  • Next stop was a park where we rented Hoverboards for 15 minutes (the Segway-like skateboards that became popular this year) for 20,000 VND each. We had fun racing and making fools of ourselves while trying to learn the proper technique.
  • Last stop was a huge, 5-story shopping mall where we stocked up on snacks and checked out the arcade and cinema (the new Star Wars being the only English film).
  • By this time we were all tired and hopped on our motorbikes to head back to Mui Ne.
  • Made a quick stop at the kiteboarding school to see what was going on.  Mathis and Ugis went home and just as Cory and I were about to leave a local surfing/kiteboarding legend named Phi came over and offered to buy us drinks.  We all sat together and enjoyed a couple giant Tiger beers while talking about kiteboarding, surfing, and life in Vietnam.  
  • Cory and I stayed a bit longer after Phi and his friend Lam left then returned to our hostel for some rest.
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