Friday, March 20, 2009


(This is the fourth post in a week-long serial about our Valentine's Day vacation. This entry should conclude the run, so I can get on with more recent stuff come Monday.) We spent the last night of our vacation in Đà Nẵng instead of Hội An because I wanted to see the big city before heading home. Đà Nẵng is the largest town in central Vietnam. The funny thing is, it feels less cosmopolitan than any other place I’ve visited here. The nicer restaurants seemed pretty ho-hum, people were unused to travelers, and there was just very little flash. I didn't see much in the way of nightlife, traffic, or hipness. This is probably because the river bisecting town is pretty wide, and the old US Army base camp at Mỹ Khê, popularized by the television show China Beach, is on the opposite side from where we stayed. I guess that's where all the tourist dollars are spent, so all the attention is paid over there. This would also account for the lack of tourist-type services--cyclos for hire, roving juice vendors, shoe shiners; hell, the lack of tourists themselves--in our immediate vicinity. It was pretty refreshing. Đà Nẵng came off like a no-frills and workaday place, with an under-crowded Champa sculpture museum rescued Mỹ Sơn artifacts, a jungle coffee shop with caged myna birds, and an altruistic pizza shop staffed by the deaf. Our hotel was adjacent to the giant cement Sông Hàn swing bridge* spanning the Hàn River, and the night before we returned home I got to see it during operation, if not "watch" it "in action". It rotated slower than my eye could follow--about half the speed of my watch's minute hand. So that took about half an hour, I guess. Obviously. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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