Friday, 28 July 2017

DAD to DMK (Leaving Vietnam for Siam)

I wake up at 2 am.

I have a translation to finish, so I might as well stay awake and do that, eh?

By 3 am the streets are deserted.

But by 4 am, there are some early risers (or late strugglers)

By 5 am I detect a hint of orange pink behind the mountains in the West.   
MUST go to the beach NOW !

Here is what expects me when I get there:



video

I realize that many many others had that idea before me.


Individual walkers or groups of a dozen seniors waving the arms as if drowning and trying to attract attention.  
But it's not only people enjoying the beach.  The fishers are coming back with their catch.




This beach is BUSY at 5 am.  



But it's also huge enough to handle the crowds and still give one an almost empty beach feeling.










The light during a sunrise in Da Nang is special.  
There is a reason why Da Nang used to be one of my 3 favourite cities on this planet.  And that reason is the Da Nang sunrise.












I can only compare it to the light over the ocean in Brittany.  Anyone who has ever seen that will know what I mean.

9:00
I'm leaving Vietnam today and decide I should buy more cigarettes. They're good here and cheaper than anything I will find in a Duty-Free store and I might as well take a carton to Bangkok, Manila, and Vancouver.
I head back to my local store.
Xin Chao and wave.  Here is the store with its smiling owner:

I get a carton of White Horse for 205,000 VND. That is converts to US$ 9 and is the CHEAPEST price I have EVER paid in all my 5 trips here.  They know I'm a Westerner. They know I come only once a year for little things.  They could have easily charged me a high price.   Nope.  The gave me the lowest price I've EVER paid in Vietnam.
Cam On Nhieu !

At the next corner I see a crane.   Long tubular re-bar ????  This tiny lot will house the next HIGH RISE 2 blocks from the beach.  














9:30

Time to sit outside and wait for my ride.  WHY do I take a picture of this bloody tourist hanging from a parachute being pulled by a speed boat?
Because I just saw the most hilarious thing.   
OK, Definitely NOT hilarious for the guy hanging from the parachute.

The boat has to turn at some point to get back to where the customer's friends or family are waiting. I think the boat operator thought it would be FUN to execute that turn with a speed that would let the legs of the person on the parachute JUST barely touch the water before pulling him up again.

Good plan.  It fails.  They submerge him TWICE to somewhere between his waist and his nipples.  When they finally get him UP and out of the water again, it is with a violent jolt and I see something black separating from the flyer and following a standard trajectory into the ocean.
I wonder whether he will miss his camera or the lost footage more ;-)

9:45
Yesterday I gave the motorcycle guy 500,000 Dong because I didn't have anything smaller.  He didn't give me change and answered "whatever you say" to my question how much that ride and today's ride to the airport would be.  He said he'd be here at 10 am today.

I'd been offered the ride from Ga Da Nang to this hotel for 20,000 but always made sure to pay at least 50,000 ($2.5) for the 15 minute ride.   And now he MIGHT come back after I gave him $25 yesterday.   

You just KNOW that NO one in the US or Canada would come back.   And by 5 to 10 I've come to the conclusion that I'm an IDIOT for having thrown that temptation in front of a Viet.

He shows up at 3 to 10.  UNBELIEVABLE anywhere in the 'civilized world'.

And here is an example why one should not glorify other people or cultures, LOL.
When he drops me off at the airport and I'm just about to tell him that he should really give me back 350k but that he should keep it for being so honest, he asks me "You pay me now?".

I must have looked at him as if I'd seen my first ALIEN.   Then I start laughing out loud.  Is he an amnesiac or does he REALLY think tourists are THAT stupid?  I tell him that I paid him 500k yesterday and that said amount should have been WAY MORE than enough !  He nods and I turn around.  
What an idiot !

I had e-mailed My, the other Easy Rider that I took a day tour with in December 2015 and met again in February 2016, and he replied that he just wanted to drop by my hotel just to meet me again.   Stay away from idiots. 95 % of Viets are amazingly honest & nice people, so there is no reason to burden your life with the other 5%


The important information

my ride

The usual traffic jam caused by stupid people with their huge luggage


Au Revoir Vietnam




Fly with one of those next time

I finally find out how to get to the public bus stop at Don Mueang Airport.  But I have to resort to asking for directions at the Public Information desk.  As with so many things, It's impossible to find the first time, but once you know how to get there, it's trivial.

This time Bangkok traffic is ATROCIOUS.  And I mean BAD.  Almost as BAD as Vancouver traffic actually.  Where a viaduct is being built, only half the lanes are available to traffic and it CRAWLS.
 It crawls so badly that when the bus driver opens the door for fresh air, I jump out with my backpack and start walking.  I'm faster than the bus.
Things you see when walking:  WTF?
 I walk around 15 minutes until I get too warm but have eliminated the stuck-in-traffic stress and wait for MY bus.
There it is again. Same bus, same driver
 When the bus driver recognizes me and opens the door he emits a loud cackling laugh.  NO, I do not have to pay again. See that wouldn't work in Vancouver with its bloody fare gates.  
Now the bus barrels down the streets with probably 70 km/h.

And then it gets REALLY STUCK.  The bus doesn't move an inch for 15 minutes.  But no chance for my Houdini Escape this time.   It's POURING outside the bus.

A Caucasian couple gets on the board. She is handling a folder of printed paper maps. WTF?

FINALLY.  My stop.  I know the area and head quickly toward Khaosan Road. 
I turn into it; it’s the shortest route.  OMG.  THIS wasn’t here 3 weeks ago!  Then it was still in Benidorm, where it belongs.  Or maybe I just didn’t notice.  Hordes of pale scantily dressed young white people, drinking it up, and socializing with the tuk-tuk drivers.   I feel like a seasoned traveler witnessing that display.

The pale people walk the street like headless chickens, stopping in all the tightest spots, so that I’m glad once I have passed them and can speed walk to my destination again.

After one WRONG very NARROW alley, I find the right very NARROW alley (Forget trying to get a scooter through here, LOL). Adamaz House.
Pay the money, get the key, WALK up the STAIRS to the 6th floor.  WOW.  A bed in a small room with glass on 3 sides.  On top of the roof.  With the loo, a sink, and a rain-forest shower OUTDOORS, LOL.    I LOVE IT.





5 minutes later I HATE IT.  They put all this effort into creating this hide-away on the roof with a view over the other roofs of Bangkok, and they neglected to dimension their Wifi server so that it is actually usable.   Too many cretins updating their Facebook accounts or whatever and I can’t even read the news, never mind listen to music or do ANYTHING useful.

I’m shocked at the severity of the tantrum I throw in my rooftop domicile.  

THIS will NOT DO!   When I ask the receptionist whether she can fix it or whether this is ‘normal’, she admits that it’s always like that.   I tell her that I might move somewhere else tomorrow.   The sign in the reception “No alcohol allowed on the premises” might also have something to do with the desire to move.  I’m actually going to SMUGGLE alcohol onto the premises later. That’s why I’m taking my backpack, LOL

But NO, seriously: I can deal with cold showers, instructions to throw the used loo-paper into a bin instead of flushing it, used soap of the previous occupants, but I can NOT handle lousy internet.   After all, I DO fit the description of a Digital Nomad.  Yes, DIGITAL!   And face it.  This Internet thingy has been around for 20 years by now.  You should have got the hang of it by now if you run a hotel.

I Want Wine.  Must GO Canal-view restaurant.  

Oh, right. There is a 7-Eleven along the way. Red bottle for 275 Baht. Add cherry yoghurt, moisturizer (I didn’t even give the security Nazis a chance; I left it in my Da Nang hotel room), pistachios, and I’m paying 500 Baht, CAD$ 19.  Not bad, even though wine is EXPENSIVE in Thailand compared to Vietnam.

OMG, Canal-view restaurant is PACKED with middle-aged PALE people, LOL.
The cute server is actually astonished when I request chop-sticks.  WHAT is it with TOURISTS? 
OK, I do have to realize that this, my 6th trip to Indochina, all of them within the last 27 months (!!!), does make me something of an Expert, LOL.
Yup, I am the guy in the Expedia ad !
Yes, self-flattery reeks, but my tendency to avoid tourist spots and my long-duration trips over here enable me to show you places that most tourists and even most backpackers can only dream of.  Must be the German in me: If you do something, do it right! 
And I must admit, that even in my own estimation, I have improved quite a bit since January of this year.   Hold onto the seat of your pants, Zu !

So, another trip in November of this year, another in January of next year, and I will be a fabulous tour guide, LOL. 

OK, yes, if you were wondering, I AM on my second glass of white wine ;-)



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