He’s still look­ing at me, then what comes out of his mouth is some­thing I’ve nev­er heard from any­one in Viet­nam, young or old. It catch­es me off guard and I have no idea how to respond.

 

Hai Van Pass, Hue

Hai Van Pass, Hue

 

The Hai Van Pass

A beau­ti­ful beach, out­side the city, wood­en boats bob about while local fam­i­lies splash in the water. I’m still thrilled about com­ing over the Hai Van Pass, tout­ed as the best coastal views in Viet­nam and fea­tured on “Top-Gear” (Though I’ve nev­er seen the show).

Cows graze in a fresh­ly har­vest­ed rice field, backed by lush forest­ed moun­tains and a tem­ple, under a set­ting sun. The out­skirts of Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city.

Temple and cows, Danang

Tem­ple and cows, Da Nang

 

The Kid

The kid looks about 9 years old. He stud­ies me curi­ous­ly. Maybe he wants to say hi. Lots of kids are curi­ous about me and usu­al­ly greet me with a big smile and “hel­lo”. He’s still look­ing at me, then what comes out of his mouth is some­thing I’ve nev­er heard from any­one in Viet­nam, young or old. It catch­es me off guard and I have no idea how to respond. “F@ck you… moth­er f@cker,” he says to me, some­what qui­et­ly and with hes­i­ta­tion, fol­lowed by an uncer­tain smirk. He prob­a­bly has an idea of what he said and want­ed to get some kind of reac­tion, a bold move. I just look at him dumb­found­ed, I want to say some­thing but I can’t fig­ure out what to say. Instead, I just get onto my motor­cy­cle and dri­ve off in the set­ting sun, con­fused with this cheeky wel­come to Da Nang.

Beach outside Danang

Beach out­side Danang

 

The City

Back in a big city. I quick­ly adjust to the traf­fic pat­terns. There is order in the chaos, and it is chaos. The light turns green and I need to turn left. Left turn arrow? Not a chance. You see in Viet­nam, one revs the engine to rush quick­ly in front of the oncom­ing traf­fic for your left turn, as soon as the light turns green. Get­ting out into the inter­sec­tion a few sec­onds before the light turn turns green is accept­able, even encour­aged.

 

The Earplugs

I arrive at my hos­tel and to my sur­prise, I see a box of “Free Earplugs”. It’s not a small box. I open it reveal­ing a Cost­co sized sup­ply of earplugs. That’s odd, why give out free earpl….then I hear it. The whole hos­tel seems to rum­ble as the plane flies low over­head. It’s going to be a long night.

Wel­come to Da Nang!

P.S.

The next day sit­ting on the beach anoth­er kid approach­es me. “Hel­lo. I’m Tony what’s your name?” Tony wants to prac­tice his Eng­lish with this for­eign­er sit­ting on Chi­na beach. Tony is nice and polite. Be like Tony.

Danang's beautiful beaches

Da Nang’s beau­ti­ful beach­es

 

The Weed, The Irish Dude & Tinder

I almost for­got to tell you about the Irish guy look­ing for weed on Tin­der. Do you remem­ber the last sto­ry about weed and the 20,000 — 500,000 VND scam? Well, some shady guy in Hue tried the same thing. “He kept ask­ing me if I want­ed weed so I said fook it, sure.” “I fol­lowed him to under­neath the old bridge.” Two more guys then joined the first guy and the sit­u­a­tion goes down­hill. One dude pulls out the bag of weed. It’s 500k (about $22).  “I give him the 500 thou­sand bill and he says I only gave him 20 thou­sand. I said fook off I gave you 500.” The guy then tells him he was “just jok­ing” and then starts to take some weed out of the bag. He’s try­ing to give the Irish guy less than the agreed on amount, anoth­er attempt to cheat him. Now he starts get­ting more irri­tat­ed. “These guys are all small­er than me. So I say fook you, grab the bag of weed and take off on my motor­cy­cle.”

Da Nang is a half days motor­bike ride from Hue. Upon arriv­ing in Da Nang he hits up some girls on Tin­der look­ing for weed. No dice. Maybe he’ll have bet­ter luck in Hoi An.

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