48 hours with 6d1:
When my second-year students first realized (or were notified) that I would be leaving Vietnam at the end of this year, they decided that we needed to have another trip together. I suggested the cool airs of the mountain town of Dalat, but they decided to go to Mui Ne, a rather famous beach area north of Ho Chi Minh City. The trip began at 10 p.m. on Saturday: we would drive overnight and then arrive at the beach in the morning, spend the night there, and then return the next day. Saturday was also the first of many goodbye parties for Tyler, so I ate goat and had a good time before driving home through the drizzling rain and packing up some clothes and then walking down the street to meet everyone. The seats on the bus were too close together, and I was pretty much wedged in and it was uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep until about 2 a.m. But sleep I did, and when I woke up, the landscape had changed into one with distant mountains and it just seemed so different from the delta. We arrived at some ecological site with a cable car (I hate heights by the way), but the students decided that it was too expensive, and we were back on the bus, headed to the beach. Because of our little detour, we didn’t arrive at the beach until 12 hours after we left Long Xuyen, but it was nice and pleasant and there was a nice breeze. We went and played in the warm water and I got sunburned, like I usually do at the beach.
In the early evening, we were going to go to the city center and check it out, but as we walked to the bus, it started to rain. So we stayed at the beach and ate, and hung out, and then it was time for playing cards. They taught me some Vietnamese betting game, and I had some good luck at the beginning, but I ended up losing 2000 dong (about 12.5 cents).
Then we walked along the beach at night, where the waves were crashing and it was very peaceful. We looked at the lights of fishing boats out in the ocean.
I slept soundly, even though there were seven of us males sleeping on mats on the floor. And the next morning it was still raining. We had breakfast and the rain was getting lighter, so we went to some old Cham towers overlooking the ocean. I found them very interesting. The students seemed to be more interested in taking pictures with their cell phones, but it was fun. It was also really humid.
After a few more quick stops in the city, we settled down for the long ride home. And of course, there were several stops for coffee along the way.
We got back to the university at 10:30; almost exactly 48 hours after we left.
Tyler is leaving soon. I’ve already attended two of his farewell parties, and there is at least one more that I’ll be going to as well. Tyler has been here a long time, and we’ve experienced a lot together. I don’t know what this place will be like without him, and he will be missed by everyone, especially his next-door neighbor. Because of our different schedules, tonight, Wednesday, the 16th of May, is the last night that Tyler, Steven, Hendrik and I will be together in Long Xuyen.