NO, that's NOT jet-lag. It's my subconscious telling me something.
I do want to visit Dong Hoi and that fabulous hotel again. But I don't want to ride for 12 hours in a train SEAT after being sweaty after scooting half the day. NOT really. But there is something else. I DO want to see that BEACH again. WHAT is my subconscious telling me?
I have figured it out by 1:30 am and take action.
I cancel my bookings in Dong Hoi (I lose US$ 22.50 per night and probably also the train ticket in the amount of 300000 Dong.) and book those same two nights at the BEACH.
There. Problem solved.
I got rid of the stress (and wasted US$ 60 ;-(, but I just know that I've made the right decision;-)
NOW I should be able to sleep again
Yup. I made the right decision.
Someone should be at the hostel bar so that this hungry traveler can get some breakfast. Nope.
So I walk around again tying to find a store in a different directions.
Nope. NO stores.
Well, at least I get to take some pictures of the temple .
When I get back to the beach there is a moment when I just expect to hear loud Wagner music from somewhere. The Ride of the Valkyries.
Nothing is more similar in sound to these fishing boat engines than the flop-flop of an approaching helicopter. (You have to have watched Apocalypse Now to understand the above. If you haven't: HERE is the clip)
Now imagine hearing 10 of these fishing boats. It sounds JUST like that scene in Apocalypse Now. Just without the Wagner ;-)
I've had my yogurt. I got used to the sweet plain Viet style. White toast with jam. WHAT is that JAM??? Dragon-fruit? I have no idea, but it's Amazing! Think blackberry jam with an orgy of tropical side-flavours.
FINALLY, my coffee arrives. One of those drip-jobs. It's strong but fabulous ;-)
|This ain't Denny's|
Leave now? LOL?
|wet sand ?|
Or maybe I should wait 5 more minutes ....
Now WHY would my scooter be parked at the side of the road while I'm standing under a spindly tree 20 meters away?
It's raining again. And this FINALLY gives me the opportunity to copy the instant metamorphosis into a SMURF that all those 1000s of scooter riders in Ha Noi all seem to perform at the drop of the first drop of rain.
|The backpack fits underneath|
I have a sleeper berth in a train to Da Nang three days from now. It leaves at the decent hour of 8:45 am and gets to Da Nang at 14:30. My berth is even one of the lower ones. Things are REALLY working out and I'm glad I changed my plans.
|She's at least 70 ;-)|
A G&T at the Kiwi Connection is always a good idea. But today I have an added purpose, namely to inquire how much they would rent me a scooter for and what they need as security.
There is a Dutch couple with their son there and they're just renting scooters. The Viet Kiwi-Connection woman ends up just delegating me to tell them how to get to the gas station and to explain all the relevant details to them. She's grinning widely. Almost a local I am, LOL.
While the Dutch are playing with their scooters, I ask her how much a scooter rental would be. She glances quickly towards the Dutch, who are 7 meters away, then turns her back on them and behind her hand shielding her mouth says 150,000 Dong. I have to laugh. I have NO IDEA how much the Dutch are paying but I could swear that it is at least double.
All I did differently was to speak my few words of Viet when visiting this place maybe 4 times and just in general be nice to the locals. And this is how they repay me for what I consider as common decent behaviour. They are decent back.
Back at Life's a Beach. The two dogs come running when they see me, LOL. At least with them I have left a visibly positive impression. But NO, the servers still remember my name and the glass of ruou vang trang ends up being extra full. Try that in a Sheraton or Hilton !
Wei, one of the clerks, who even can pronounce CHRIS (I usually tell Viets that my name is Hans because then they have less issues pronouncing my name) looks at the picture of The Beach with puzzlement. His Grandma lives maybe 8 km from The Beach but he says "NO, that is NOT near Song Cau". Only when I show him the Google Map, his face starts showing some signs of understanding and he says "Oh, I never go that part. I always take main road to Song Cau", while he points at the main Highway 5 km from The Beach.
Then he asks me to tape a video message to the villagers. WHAT?
More on that in a later post.
During the drive South I realize how much I have fallen in love with this country. Much deeper than on any of the previous trips. I've fallen HARD. There is no point describing it. But seeing the facial expression change from a curious but cautious look to a genuinely and completely unaffected joyous smile after a simple thing such as making it easier for the scooter behind me to pass me by waving him by or other very simple thing is something you have to experience because writing it down just doesn't do it justice.
But my facial expression in these pictures might tell the story.
I walk over to have dinner with the hosts again. When I'm still 200 meters away, I see Mathias come out of the ocean with his 2-year old son and cross the 100 meters of sand back to his house. Does HE at least realize that he lives in Paradise?
While he is changing, I talk to his wife Binh and there are two more Viet women there who grin at me. After a few minutes, Binh says to me "You are different from other Westerners. Others all very COMPLICATED. I have to laugh. I've been trying to put my finger on what it is, and she just captured it in very simple words. The Vietnamese are UNCOMPLICATED. What you see is what you get. And that makes for easy living. Maybe that's why they laugh so much.
Dinner with a view
A few weeks ago I wrote that Chris Cornell had died. Had committed suicide actually. His best friend killed himself on Chris Cornell's birthday a few days ago. I had never heard of him. So I looked it up. And I LISTENED TO THIS.
Thank you, Chester Bennington. It's one of life's ironies that it took your death for me to have a look at the following lyrics.
THIS is EXACTLY the way I feel EVERY time after spending one week in Vancouver and THIS takes at least 1 week of Vietnam to GO AWAY:
And that is the real reason why I LOVE this country.
It heals. No more. No less.