The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang.
February was another pretty big month of riding, and Vietnam has been wonderful. The traffic is slightly less chaotic than Cambodia. The coffee is great, and the weather has been really good for the most part. I mean, after two months in 30+C temps the mild 18-25C here is fantastic.
The view from the train ride to Hue.
I’ve also noticed that the Vietnamese people seem more genuine in many ways. Still very friendly, but they don’t seem to have the custom to always smile that I encountered in Thailand. In Thailand I was actually told by a few Thai people that the constant smile is kind of disingenuous sometimes. The Vietnamese seem to display the emotion they feel. I haven’t witnessed anyone lose their temper, which I assume is still a cultural no-no here, but generally they just seem to be more genuine. Kind of like Midwestern Americans.
It’s easy to be really comfortable here. Specifically, I have found Da Nang to be extremely comfortable. Sometimes as I travel I get tired of being either the target of people constantly trying to sell me things (mostly in tourist destinations), or on the other hand being stared at like I’m Quetzalcoatl returned. Da Nang offers anonymity. It has been 9 days since I arrived in Da Nang. The neighboring cafe knows what I want in the morning. The little mini mart just down the street knows which beer and how many I want at dinner time. The little lady that sells bun bo in the morning across the street prepares a bowl as I cross from the cafe. I almost feel like I’m part of the neighborhood, but not as a tourist, as a person. Finding places like this and spending time in them allows me to relax in ways that I can’t when laying on a beach surrounded by other vacationers and travellers. It’s almost a taste of home.
Bun bo! Even when it’s not what I’m looking for, it’s still so satisfying! Love this stuff!
There are certainly tourist attractions, and areas that cater to tourists here in Da Nang. It’s just really easy to get out of them or avoid them if you want. I freely admit that I made a trip into the tourist areas to have a burger at a place that some guy I met somewhere told me about. It was good. Really good. But, Da Nang is just a city. A modern city without the architecture of Hoi An or Hue, but with plenty of charm in its own right.
It’s also really easy to get to Hoi An and Hue from Da Nang. Hoi An is an easy 30km bike ride, or a 30 min bus ride, down the coast; and Hue is a comfortable, scenic $5 roundtrip train ride away.
You can now use me as a link in 6 degrees of Anthony Bourdain! I ate bun bo made by the woman who also served Anthony when he visited Hue.
I’ve ridden when I wanted. Up the mountains, along the coast, and to and from Hoi An for coffee in the afternoon. It’s been a fantastic stop.
Coffee stop on an afternoon ride.
I’ll miss Da Nang, but I’m ready to get back on the move. Da Nang was what I’ve needed since leaving Cambodia. I’m reinvigorated and ready to ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail north.
One of many quiet garden cafes in Da Nang.
6 thoughts on “Anonymity”
Nice photos! Looks very tranquil, and great coffee is a bonus. I would love a place like that right about now. Thanks for the new post!
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It sounds like a little slice of Heaven.
It is kind of just a really liveable city. I am seriously thinking about getting my ESL teaching accreditation and returning to Vietnam at some point. It’s just comfortable.
Looks nice and you sound very relaxed. Still miss you though and I am glad that you have fond thoughts of the midwest USA.
Enjoy your writing and pictures so much. Question: do you get lonely? Just curious since you are traveling alone mostly.
Not in the sense that I feel a need to necessarily interact with people, but more that sometimes I want to be around people. That being said, at the end of a long day of riding generally I just want to have a coffee and snack to unwind, then beer and dinner and read.