Sometimes You Guess Wrong

We took a short flight south from Hanoi to Da Nang yesterday and after battling awful traffic made it to our apartment-hotel. On arrival I realized something was off - it seemed we were staying somewhere nobody knew how to get to. When we checked in to the place everything seemed fine and to be fair the lodging for the price isn't worth complaining about.

Our View in Da Nang

The neighborhood we chose was based off its proximity to bars, restaurants, cafes, and - not that we plan to swim - the beach. All of these things are true but here's the catch. It's all awkward shoddy new construction scattered between under-construction. I'm talking no sidewalks, roads that turn to dirt and back to pavement, and piles of rubble. Crazier is the number of enormous high rise hotels we can see just from a short walk out our door. Some as big as 30 stories. We went out for dinner last night to a small Vietnamese restaurant and there were a few other tourist families eating there. We went to a highly rated cocktail bar afterwards and we were the only patrons - at 8pm, on a Saturday. Perhaps 8pm is early? Friday night in Hanoi at 8pm and the same kind of place was standing room only.

A local imperial IPA

I went out to get coffee this morning at a local roaster. It looks genuinely great. When I walked in there were plenty of people sitting down but oddly it was rather dark and smelled a bit off - perhaps the power was out? I didn't ask what was going on I just ordered everything to go and we enjoyed it in our bright and cool apartment.

It's only day one and to be fair everything here has been fine other than the eerie surroundings. We will probably venture out to the other side of the city today to get a better feel for what is supposedly a rapidly growing city here in Vietnam. We also plan to take a day trip to Hoi An (perhaps even spend a night). Other activities will be weather dependent - its still over 110 with the heat index.

For the time being we are succumbing to the closest activity we can find, the beach. It's gorgeous with views of lush mountains and the Lady Buddha statue. It's also breezy and quiet. It may not be my first choice of activity but it will do for sure while we wait for the sun to set.
Vietnam Bay

Going back to Hanoi for a moment, we got up on Saturday morning to experience something rather fun. On weekends from Friday night until Sunday night they close the road around the central lake and a few other roads to motorists. For a city like Hanoi that is a huge difference in peacefulness. We took a lap around the lake which is about 20 minutes walking and while I was dripping with sweat it was the most enjoyable on foot experience in the city. Even when you have the right of way and crossing signal its no certainty that the road will make way for you so being able to focus on the surroundings and not the honking was a relief.

Maison Marou Chocolate - Hanoi

My kind of traffic in Hanoi