My Crack Team of Masseuses and the Hot Russian Next Door

fruit vendor mui ne“Madame! Madame!”Their pleading cries (sounding like “Ma-DOM”) greet me like clockwork every morning, within minutes – but more often seconds – after I set foot outside my bungalow door. And more often than not, I smile and shake my still bleary-eyed head, “No, thank you.”

First, it’s the fruit vendors. They arrive in Vietnamese style, wearing the traditional conical straw hat so often associated with visions of rice paddies. Over their shoulders are long poles with baskets on each end, carrying a cornucopia of colorful fruits for sale. Sorry for them (and for my health), I all but never have the desire to chomp on fruit. Which means every morning without fail I reject their profferings, yet still, they refuse to relent from asking. I get the sense these women won’t stop until I’ve upped my daily vitamin intake. Hm. Maybe that’s a good thing.

But while I remain steadfast in my fruit denials, the mother-daughter team offering up beach massages wore me down in a matter of days. How could I resist a $5 beach chair oil up and rub down from their sad pleading faces? The day I finally said “yes, tomorrow,” Mama clapped. She literally clapped her hands and jumped a bit. I’ve never had anyone so excited to work out my knots.

Massage Team at Rest
Massage Team at Rest

I was slightly dubious about their skills. After watching them at work for a few days, it seemed their style involved a lot of punching of the butt. But hell, in for 100,000 dong, in for $5. Turns out, they’re great. Better than a lot of $100 massages from spas.

Sure, they punch my head a little bit and karate chop my calves a lot, and it sort of hurts, but it also sort of hurts so good. As for the kink in my shoulder? Gone. And my glutes?  Let’s just say there ain’t a knot in ’em.

Speaking of glutes, let’s talk about the phenomenon of the hot Russian here in Mui Ne. For whatever reason, the town is a super-popular destination for Russians – signs are often in Russian before English, and there’s a lot of “Nyet-ing” going on around me. Of course the phenomenon isn’t just their presence – it’s how unspeakably hot the younger women are. Legs that reach above my waist, all skinny as rails, and donning impossibly small bikinis. Frankly, it’s distracting.

My bungalow neighbor is summed up in the above description, and happens to be really nice. She could be a model. I know this because one day after surreptiously puzzling over how one woman’s legs could be so toned and long and mine so short and, well, not toned, she asked if I could take her picture.

Um, ok.

Next thing I know, she’s climbing a tree, peeping out between branches. Lying on a lounge chair  backwards with a come-hither look in her eye, and kneeling at the surf, while whipping her head around in the wind. And there I stood, trying to get all of her legs in the photo frame, clicking away. I’d like to call it a bonding moment.

Now, in a nod to the genetics of the former USSR, I think I’m going to go find the fruit vendors. Or get a fruity cocktail from the bar next door. That’s more like it! Because that still counts as fruit … right?


  1. post a picture of the hot russian!

  2. This just made me laugh and laugh and laugh. I’m kinda hoping you smeared a little Vaseline on the lens.

    And yes! A picture! Please! Because we’re all lathered up now.

  3. Valerie Conners says:

    I know, I know, I debated posting a pic, but didn’t want to be a creeper!!

  4. you are such a talented riot! this had me laughing

  5. Hey! This is Christy from Hollywood Nails. Your mom just left today and I had to ask her again for your website because I misplaced it.

    How was your trip? I can see you’re enjoying yourself 🙂 How was VN? I think you enjoyed it more than I did lol Anyway, I had the same experience with those vendors. Seriously, they would ask and we’d say no. Another one would come up. No. Another one would come up and after you said no, they just sit there to stare at you. I feel bad for them, but you know, let me sit and relax on the beach and instead I’m constantly being asked to buy, majority of the time, peanuts, and fruits. They get excited because you’re American and what’s dirt cheap to us is like the jackpot to them. Literally. I had no idea until my husband told me. hahah

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Hi Christy! thanks for the comment – I’m so glad you’re following along! well – i gotta say, Vietnam beaches were totally great, vendor-wise, compared to Cambodia! there’s all these creepy old white men here for prostitutes, and the vendors are child beggars – just awful! Anyway – hope you’re well and thanks again for writing!

  6. Pingback: Yes, Belinda Carlisle, Heaven Is a Place On Earth « Passenger Conners

  7. Pingback: Travel Awards, Passenger Conners-Style! « Passenger Conners