The first night in Da Nang and I enjoyed the locals on the beach in the evening. I wore my bikini, but didn’t end up swimming at that time. My boyfriend took a walk whilst I read my book, laying on my beach towel as the sun went down. By sunset, I started to worry about him and walked off to find him, though I said I’d stay in the same place. It was a silly idea and after half an hour, I’d reached the end and not found him, so turned back. I was worried I wouldn’t found my way, but luckily followed my mind map, which he always says he can do, and I picked the right route back to the hostel. It was dark and I was still wearing my sunglasses when I got back, but he wasn’t at the hostel and my glasses and contacts were locked in the bedroom. Thankfully, he arrived about give minutes later and we went out to eat at a disappointing Korean restaurant nearby.
The next day wasn’t without its drama due to our hostel messing us around a bit, but aside from that, things were looking up. We started off the day on a bit of a sour note, or rather as stinging one. Headed to swim in the beach after a nice breakfast, we saw tons of jellyfish. And although these seemed to be harmless, the water was reminiscent of that of the Phi Phi islands, and once again I was stung by sea-lice. After a couple dips I couldn’t take it anymore.
We went back to the hotel, then had some lunch at a nearby street food restaurant, which was half the price and much better than the Korean place. We walked to a temple we had passed in the taxi, and then went to a roof-top pool I’d had found online. A la Carte (aka A la Fart, as it was renamed) wouldn’t let us use the pool, even though I read a review saying it was open to the public. Instead, we went to Diamond Sea, where we stayed until sunset. It was 115k and included free towels and a drink each. I spent the afternoon swimming and reading, finally feeling like I was on holiday after the intensity of teaching.
I’d just finished my last day of teaching and we had a celebration dinner, with lots of drinks and music playing. It was great to mark the ending with a gathering of so many members of staff. A few of us then ended the night with a cocktail.
That night in De Nang, I had a beer and some chips as we watched the sun set from the bar of the hotel. We then got changed for dinner and headed to the dragon bridge in a taxi. Away from the beach, but next to the river, Da Nang proved to be the perfect location for the few days leave I had, so picturesque, with plenty to do. We ate seafood at a street food restaurant on a side road, which was full of flavour, and were welcomed by a big party of locals, who gave us beer – my boyfriend forced to down his despite not even drinking alcohol! We then went on Segways, which was really fun. We had tried it before and I was better at it, and although my boyfriend picked it up this time, I was probably still a bit better… before I crashed into a table and chairs! It seems to have really taken off in Vietnam, which makes me wonder why is not as big in the UK. That said, people do have a lot of accidents with it; but surely not more than things like ice skating and rollerblading?
Anyway, the next day we went to the Lady Buddha, and explored the temple grounds. It was amazing to see the statue up close after having seen it from the other side, on the beach. We asked the taxi to drop us on the beach, then went into another temple, which was incredibly colourful and had a very positive atmosphere. We were even invited to eat by a big group of women. The kindness of some of the Vietnamese people like this is overwhelming, especially when you can’t speak the language – all you can communicate in are smiles.
We walked from the beach back to our hostel, which was a lot longer than I had estimated! We decided to go to another roof-top pool we had seen from the previous hotel. It was called Golden Sea hotel, and perhaps because they had two building sites either side of it (and I did get plaster blown onto me whilst there), we were let in for free. We bought a drink and enjoyed what was, for the most part, our own private pool and DJ. It looked directly onto the sea, as the pool was right on the edge of the roof.
After getting changed, we got some food by the beach, and I got a local beer to drink on the beach, whilst my boyfriend had an evening dip. We also looked at the luminous creatures that glowed in the dark water, which was cool. Then, before heading back, we stumbled upon live music as part of a X-factor-style contest, which I think must have been the same competition I saw advertised at the cinema. One woman sang “Dancing Queen” by Abba, which amazed me as I had put it as my “favourite song” on the hostel’s information slips we filled in on arrival. I do like the song, but I wouldn’t normally have put it as my favourite song, so I was excited by this coincidence.
We turned in for the night after an ice cream, and headed back to Haiphong the next day. I enjoyed a last cinema trip with one of my school friends to see the new Bourne film, which I was surprised to really enjoy, and didn’t fall to sleep despite my 6am rise. My boyfriend and I got an Indian takeaway and then joined a few of our new friends for one last passion fruit juice at or local, Happy Family. It was nice to have a goodbye, but so many people I didn’t get so say a proper goodbye to, but then I tend to prefer to slip out with a see-you-later.