It's been a crazy weekend! First of all, let me (Mike) tell you about our new friends. We had heard that a lot of Westerners (specifically Americans) liked to congregate outside a little bar called the "Golden Pine". So, Thursday we decided to stop by. Nobody was there, except one older guy sitting outside drinking some beer. On our way out, he waved us over, bought us some smoothies, and we talked for about an hour. His name is Richard - he's from
but is taking his retirement in VN and has lived all over the world. He's a
super cool guy, and he invited us to go motorbiking with him and his Vietnamese
girlfriend up over the mountains and to some great beaches. I'll get to that in
a sec. California
Our other good friends here include Xavier and Geraldine - a French couple that both work at Gameloft with me. They speak pretty good English and have been primarily responsible for "showing us the ropes" here. They've shown us a lot of good places to eat, pointed us to the good supermarkets and hang-out spots, and most importantly they helped us find a good deal on a motorbike. On Saturday we spent about $450 on a pretty stellar motorscooter, and another $50 on some really nice helmets that might actually save our lives in an emergency (as opposed to the "helmets" most Vietnamese people wear). After spending most of the day in the hot sun, looking at dozens of motorbikes and haggling with everyone in view, they showed us this awesome resort right on the beach where they go to swim and chill. Apparently the resort never bothers them, even though they never stay there, so it's like a free pool, towels, and awesome beach locale with chairs and umbrellas! It's awesome. (Risa butting in - the resort pool and beach access is free to those who work in Da Nang, Xavier and Geraldine have passes because they showed proof that they work here but you can bring friends and family too if you like).
I should also mention that I've become pretty good friends with a lot of the designers that I am in charge of. They invited Risa and I to go "drinking" with them on Friday night (we just had Pepsi of course). It was crazy and really fun. We ate clams, oysters, shrimp (whole), squid (whole), jellyfish, and 2 other kinds of fish. It was sooooo good. Jellyfish is one of the strangest things I've ever had, but tastes much better than I would have thought. It's the jelly/meaty texture that's the weird part. After eating and drinking (their drinking cheer is "ba, hai, mot, yo!" which means 3, 2, 1, Yo!), we walked over to the beach and caught some "com com"s (little crabs that run all over the place) and built a sand castle. It was great.
Today (Sunday) we spent the whole day motorbiking with Richard (55), his girlfriend Hai (36), and her daughter Ming (11). I could... not... believe... how beautiful the mountain pass was that we drove over. Ocean views on both sides - tons and tons of trees and rocks and vines - some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen. Then we arrived at a different beach on the other side of the mountain in a town called Long Co. It was super nice, but there were jellyfish swimming all over in the water. There were tons of people out swimming with them, and some of them were even catching them, so we figured it wasn't dangerous. I got some good pictures. And now we're totally pooped. We're going to bed. See the pictures below. (facebook hasn't been working so we haven't put up anything recently).
Love you all!
View going up the mountain pass.
Michael with his helmet hair - Da Nang City is in the background.
Jellyfish that were everywhere - Risa was totally freaked out but they didn't hurt too much, just itched/stung a bit for a moment.
Having fun on the beach. Ming was really shy at first but then opened up once Risa let her bury her in the sand for a bit, they had a lot of fun.
View coming back up the pass on the other side.
Some cows that were grazing on/around the road on our way home. Richard tried to pet one and she got rather upset. They were neat though.