DA NANG – HUE TRIP JOURNAL P2: FantastiCITY

Previous part of this post: Part 1

When you go to bed at the end of the day, with a smile hovering on your lips, as you slowly fall into a tight sleep, you know the day that has passed by was fantastic, leaving you with fantastic experiences and lingering dreams. I had that feeling the second night in Danang, because, well, obviously the city was unbelievable.

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  1. People just meet, sometimes.

I’ve always had the feeling that life only prizes some special people with awesome memories, while the rest of us are stuck in those 3F routines (fone – food – facebook). Then Danang taught me that maybe, life just waits for you to go out. When I get out of the room, the world always sends something awesome to the door.

So these are two stories:

Story 1: Son Tra (Monkey Mountain)

Son Tra is heaven on Earth.

We rode a motorbike to Monkey Moutain, which lies under the feet of a giant Kwanyin Buddha statue. The roads in Danang clearly show that a direction-goldfish like me belongs with this place: there was no turn on our way to the Mountain; all we had to go through was a single windy endless road that embraces the mountain and leads us to every corner of this paradise.

The breathtaking view from Son Tra to the sea below and its surroundings is really hard to put into words. It’s like, well…, imagine the first time you see a hot girl or guy naked, then multiply that amazement by 10 times! It’s EYAGASM baby!

After taking a look at Linh Ung pagoda (which was a must since I’m Buddhism), we headed towards Bai Rang (Rang Beach). We just wanted to find a restaunrant and a way to get down to the sea, and literally I had no idea what was coming of us. We had to follow a stair through long bushes, leading straight to the seashore, where lied a beautiful beach restaurant looking out to the sea.

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– What about you two girls joining us? Just a meal.

Two men from the next table were asking us. This is not something you usually experience in your city, but in FantastiCity, everything is just so natural. You talk easy, you make friends easy, and you enjoy the world easy. A little shy and awkward at first, so we refused; but then the gorgeous view of the sea just reminds us of how awesome Danang can be. “This could be the thing to remember, then why not?” – I thought. And I was right. We had a nice lunch together, talking about things I don’t really remember. One of our new friends is a painter. He is a true artist as I observed, with all the poem quoting and flowery words. He is funny and syrupy, sweet and bitter, obtimistic and pessimistic at the same time. Hours later we would be on the way to Hoi An Old Town, which was sort of unexpected. We expected to enjoy ourselves in Danang. We never expect to enjoy cool companions here. As it turned out, we did have a great memory.

Story 2: Hoi An

So eventually, and luckily maybe, Hien and I did not have to ride to Hoi An on our own. After all we didn’t even know the way there (we’d become so confident since we went to Danang, as whatever would happened on our way, there are nice people everywhere to seek help). The guys “escorted” us to Hoi An Old Town.

Well, I’m not gonna say how magical the town looks at night. It’s pure beauty with all the dim light from lanterns and the elegant shops and restaurants along the streets. Trong Anh, the painter guy, showed us up to his own restaurant, which is also a painting exhibition. I walked through the room and looked at the pictures, thinking about what would have happened if I had the gut to pick up Art as my major. Well, it would never happen. After all I love painting as a simple joy, and I would not stand doing it for a living. I just don’t deserve Art in some way. Then I will forever kneel down under the feet of the Art Goddess, admiring her.

At a crossroad I heard someone calling my name. “Is that you?” – the girl was asking me. Oh my God, what are the odds of two friends bumping into each other in the middle of the country like this? And we even happened to stay at the same hotel. I’d never believed in those coincidence or some kind, but that meeting in the middle of romantic Hoi An really cheered me up. It’s good to see friends everywhere. It’s good to see friends anywhere.

  1. FantastiCity – what have you done to me???

What is so weird about Danang is its superpower to turn any negative feelings into possitive ones. The people here are illegally lovely. Just really, really lovely.

As the dawn was breaking, us girls dressed up and ran out to the sea. Hien was so afraid of the cold water, so she did not put on a bikini and had no intention of swimming. I, on the other hand, cannot stand the idea of getting near the sea and not getting wet. So we took a couple of pictures with dresses on, before I had my sexy strip show in the public beach club and started to welcome all the waves the sea was about to give (thank God it’s in the morning and my belly is flat in the morning, before any food gets into it).  As we struggled to take a selfie with both of us in the picture (I blame the sick check-in culture we’re living!), an old man came up and offered to take one for us. He was a typical sea man, with tan strong skin and a there’s-not-a-single-worry-in-the-world-honey smile on his face. We were so sure he had some skills, because the pictures he took were beautiful, to be honest. Then he came back to join his pals on the beach: a group of old happy men sunbathing under the peaceful sky of Danang. They were talking and laughing, and looking at us girls chanting like “Pretty!”. The sun rays were spreading down their face, to the neck and the chest, which lightened smiles. I love looking at that picture. Why can’t life be just that simple?

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Speaking of simple, nothing was simple in Danang for us. We had all kinds of problem with the motorbike we hired. Later that morning we headed to Son Tra. You won’t believe it, as we were riding at 60km/h there was something hitting Hien’s foot. She moaned in pain but kept riding. When we finally stopped to see some more of the beach, we freaked out to realize the motorbike key was gone. How the hell can a key drop when the motorbike is running? The next day we found out two holes on the front wheel of the vehicle. None of those troubles really annoyed us, to my most surprise. I couldn’t stop laughing on our way home to the hotel, thinking about the incident of a key dropping out and was nowhere to be found. What is wrong in the air of Danang, that made us all so cheerful, even in uncomfortable situations?

  1. Magical moments

There are magical moments that stay in the mind for no reason. Like, the fear and excitement I got when I was out in the ocean watching corals, where the water below was 20m deep. I barely can swim, but I just felt the need to feel every inch of this experience. So I tried to get out of my own lifebouy and dived myself into the sea. There was some kind of satisfaction when you manage to cast out the fear and grab at the chance of feeling awesome.

Then there was this moment when we were on a boat flowing along Thu Bon River, watching Hoi An under the moon. OK, there was no full moon that day, but still the town was phenomenal. I felt like I could hear the houses whispering, waving all the lanterns at us, and singing us the most beautiful lullaby.

But none of the above would beat this one time, when I strolled towards the beach on my own. Just for 5 minutes, me, the beach, a camera and music. I was walking down the sand, kneeling down to grab a handful of sand and let it flow through my fingers. So magical that my iPod started to switch to a song I did not recognize (I later found out it was “Everything but the girl – Downtown Train, the theme song where Ted Mosby met the Mother for the first time on How I Met Your Mother). That music was the perfect soundtrack to the romantic scene I was in. The beach, the sand and my soul, everything just melted into it, making a moment that I would treasure, at least for a significantly long time.

Da Ly

Next part: Tìm Huế nơi mô?

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