This past Friday was Vietnam’s Independence Day, celebrating the over 30 years it has been independent from France. For me this meant no work on Friday and a chance to travel to Mui Ne, a beach town about a 5 hour bus ride from where I live. The bus ride was rather enjoyable since I was seeing parts of the country that were new to me. That and there was the most adorable Japanese baby sitting in front of me who kept turning around.
When we arrived to Mui Ne Resort, we dropped our things off in our room, ate a quick lunch, and then beelined for the lounge chairs by the beach. It was here we sipped on cocktails and beers for the remainder of the afternoon. Something I found interesting about the drinks served here were they used freshly made fruit juices for everything. I ordered a Bloody Mary and instead of using that Clamato stuff we use back in the states, they literally took a tomato, pureed it, and then mixed in the vodka. I was skeptical at first but it only took one sip to convince that yet again, the Vietnamese knew something I didn’t.
By mid-afternoon I was starting to get a little hungry, but instead of getting something from the resort, we just ordered a kilo of fresh shrimp from a woman walking up and down the beach. There are several women walking around with buckets of freshly caught seafood for sale. They show you the shrimp or crab or whatever while it’s still alive, you place your order, and about 15 minutes later they are back with a bag of the most delicious seafood you’ve ever put in your mouth.
By the time dinner rolled around, Sqy and I were ready to venture out in search of something tasty. As we were walking past the various restaurants and resorts I said, “I want to find something with seats overlooking the ocean and a sign that says ‘Best Frickin’ Sea Food Ever, You Would Be An Idiot If You Walked Any Further’”. Well I think we found that place, only the sign was in Vietnamese so I will never be certain. But there were seats right on the water and the menu had everything from crab to eel to shark to scallops, you get the idea. It was time to feast. We ordered calamari, scallops in a garlic and butter sauce, crab, a seafood hotpot with tuna, squid, and shrimp. We ordered fried rice with vegetable, freshly squeezed dragon fruit juice, and of course Heineken. To end the meal we ate a banana crepe with the freshest bananas I’ve ever eaten. They probably picked them from a tree by the restaurant right after we placed our order.
Right as we were digging into our main courses, a torrential storm rushed in, driving us from the seaside tables to the covered patio area. After we resettled, the wind and rain caused the power to go out. Not just in the restaurant but for the entire street. I have never seen darkness that totally black. The only lights in sight were the tiny dots out on the water from the fishing boats, but even these were nearly invisible through the rain. A lantern was quickly brought to our table so we could continue eating. The lights went on and off for the next 20 minutes or so before the storm ended and all order was restored.
More people had been driven into the restaurant because of the rain and after dinner I was pulled from my seat by one of the ladies serving us dinner and taught the dance to some random Russian song. This prompted the Russians sitting at another table to get up and go a little crazy when the staff put on a Russian techno song next. Needless to say it was one of the most interesting dining experiences of my life. So much so we went back the next night for more.