Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back Online

It's been a while since I've updated his blog because I changed Internet providers and that took a while. Things move slow over here at times. And just when they were ready to hook me up again, someone broke into my place and stole my laptop. That's a big loss not only for the computer but for the stuff that was on it. I had a bunch of photos ready to post too. Anyway, I'm back online now and want to let people know I'm still keeping on over here.

School has mellowed a bit since the summer break for the regular schools is about to wrap up and the teachers who have been away on holiday have returned. I have a little more free time now but still have to be at school six days a week. This doesn't give me much time to get out and explore too far so I have been keeping close to home. I have done a couple of interesting things though.

Those of you who spent time in Da Nang will probably remember Monkey Mountain. It's a peninsula that sticks out just to the north of the city. We used it for a radar station during the war. Today, the area is pretty sleepy but they have begun to build several resorts there. I went out there last week for a day just to get out of the city and found a great little hide-a-way that's off the beaten path. In fact, it looks like you are on a dead end to get there. They have some grass covered cabanas and small tables set up on one of the prettiest little beaches I have seen. And they serve great seafood and cold beer. What more could you ask for? There was a small party going on while I was there and they invited me over for a toast. I don't know what we were toasting but I had to be polite and drink a little who knows what with them.

Then a couple of days later, some friends and I (six of us in all) hired a small fishing boat to take us about ten miles up the coast. It was spectacular with the clear blue water and rich green mountains. We didn't catch any fish but Anh had stopped at the market before we left and picked some up for us just in case. We made "Hot Pot" (a seafood soup) right on the boat. There was a full moon that evening and we stayed out lisening to music and eating until after ten o'clock. A terific evening for all of us.

I've been in country for three months now and am getting over the novelty of being here but there are always things that come up that are surprises. Not all of the pleasant but surprises none the less. Da Nang is like any big city, there is the good and the not so good to deal with. But as far as Vietnam goes, Da Nang is the place to be right now. There is so much building and improvement going on all over the city that you can feel the energy.

Several have asked about my neighborhood. Here are a couple of shots of my street. The blue house is my neighbors to the north and the shed is directly across the street from me. There is also a shot looking down my street to the south.

I do want to get out and do some exploration before the wet season begins though. Mr. Luan (see earlier post) has invited me to come to his homeland in the central highlands with him. He has shown me some books he's helped put together about the mountain people and it looks fascinating. Hopefully I will be able to get a couple of days off in a row and go with him. It's in the area around Plieku and Doc To, about half way between Saigon and Da Nang.