Hounds, Bikes and Dunes

2 Mar

Puppy at roadside stall, Mui Ne, VietnamZ and I are sitting at a roadside stall in Mui Ne, Vietnam, watching a very cute, extremely solemn and phenomenally determined toddler hounding an equally cute but definitely sorrowful puppy.

It’s our first outing on a motorbike sans chauffeur since I over-estimated my off-road capabilities on an elderly manual sized for a Thai lady, shredded my elbow, scraped Z’s hand and scared myself shitless. Our spanking new, man-sized twist-‘n’-go Honda has proved a far more accessible ride.

It’s been a beautiful day, cruising along a quiet coast road, a bay crammed with fishing boats opening up out of nowhere, deep red sand dunes undulating out of coastal forest, lazy seas, tall palms, azure skies and just the right amount of breeze on your face.

We’ve slid down sand dunes on a plastic toboggan, compared muscles with the entrepreneurial kids who own the slide gig, got lost on a deliciously deserted motorway, and are gearing up to paddle down the “Fairy Stream”.

“He doesn’t look very happy, does he?” says Zac. “I reckon Adrenaline Puppy — the barking one — at the guesthouse in Phnom Penh would terrify him. And he’s almost as small as Minnow in Saigon.”

There is none of this namby-pamby “play nicely with the little doggie” crap in Vietnam. The toddler goes, with the best intentions and deepest affection, to pick him up by his tail. When pup takes cover in the shadow of a plant pot, grandma yanks him out by the ear and hands him straight back.

Eventually, puppy and parents decide they have had enough of this, and exit faux-casually, stage left, to spend some well-earned quiet time with the chickens out back.

The Fairy Stream is pretty cool. Well, I think so. It runs in shallow rivulets over deep russet sand, winding through viridian grass into a Technicolor landscape with low, jagged orange cliffs on one side, lacy white sandstone columns on the other, the red and white sands slumping and merging as if a giant were blending gouache.

Z plays in the sand for a bit. “You know what, Mum?” he says. “I don’t think this is as special as you think it is. I want to go back and swim in the pool.”

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2 Responses to “Hounds, Bikes and Dunes”

  1. Kate Maindonald March 4, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Ha Ha! Nice one Zac- just tell it as it is! Nice to see you guys having some fun x

    • smartass300 March 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

      Thank you. I am now in a bit of vietnam called Hue. (hoo-ay)

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