Saturday, July 19, 2008

China Beach, Danang, Vietnam

We decided, at the last minute, to travel with R&R tavern owners Jay and Huong and their two children Ross and Patty, to China Beach in Danang for a week of sun and surf. Some of you may recall China Beach from Apocalypse Now, it is the place where "Charlie Don't Surf". We spent four nights and five days in what may very well be the hottest place on earth. We arrived in Danang at about 5pm on Monday after a short flight from Hanoi. We shared a taxi for the fifteen minute drive to China Beach and were in the South China Sea by five-thirty. The water was a beautiful mix of turquoise and blue, framed by white sandy beaches with powder soft sand. We grudgingly removed ourselves from the water and went back to our hotel to change and shower before dinner. We returned to a little thatched hut restaurant, where we would be eating all our meals for the following week. Karen ordered a plate of king prawn and I ordered a standard Vietnamese dish of stir fried Beef and vegetable with a side of white rice. My food was alright, but Karen's Prawn were awesome. I hate seafood, and never eat it, but upon prompting from Karen I tried one and ended up eating half of the .5 Kg King prawns myself. Delicious. With full stomachs, we ordered a bucket of cold beer and spent the rest of our first evening sitting on the beach sipping cold Tiger beer, allowing our food to digest while listening to the waves crash on one of the worlds most famous beaches. The next day started early for us and we spent most of the day swimming and sitting on the beach. I, of course, got burned as I always do whenever I go to a beach. The heat was more extreme than I expected, with temperatures reaching 40+ and the sun was like a mean snotty nosed kid with a magnifying glass and we were the ants. Even Karen, who never gets sunburned, got burned the following day. Day three was much like day one and two, with the exception of heading up the beach about half a K, to a resort where the six of us ended the evening drinking cocktails and watching the most wonderfully absurd band I have ever seen. We went late so we only caught their final set, but it was amazing. It was a three piece Filipino band who were insanely enthusiastic and had a bit of a hard time with pronunciation of some of the words in the songs. I was truly delighted to hear, in their rendition of Another Brick in the Wall, "All and all we're just another brick"s" on zee wall" It was a great week. Karen tried surfing for the first time, but the waves were a little small that day and her attempts were futile. We did exactly what we wanted to do, be lazy on a beach, and got to experience a few new things. Surfing for Karen and The Final Touch band for both of us. The last thing I want to write about is our trip home. Karen,myself,Huong and little Patty left a full week earlier than Jay and Ross. We shared a taxi to the airport for the flight back to Hanoi. The weather had been perfect for the entire trip but sometime after we checked in and walked in to the departure lounge the weather turned nasty and violent. Our flight was delayed 30 minutes while the hardest downpour I had ever seen erupted from out of nowhere. The sky turned black and thunder began to shake the walls of the small airport and lighting lit up the skies. The worst had past but it was still storming when they called us to board the plane. I looked over at Karen and I said " I don't like this. " I asked her if she wanted to wait and fly out in the morning on another flight. She declined and said it would be fine. I conceded and gritted my teeth as we headed out to the tarmac. It was the first time I was actually afraid to fly. It was a rough take off and an even rougher landing in Hanoi where it was also storming. It was an amazing and frightening experience to be on a Vietnamese budget airline, with lightning arcing all around the plane as we made the roughest landing I have ever felt in my more than 40 flights. Well, we made it and it was a great ending to a memorable week. I have included some video. Peace out, homeys. P.S. Charlie still don't surf!
Ed
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