Da Nang is a bust

I asked for downtime and I got it. My time in Da Nang is basically a bust.

I am able to arrange to van ride to Da Nang from Hue. The van ride I book includes a couple stops along the way.

Thanh Toan Bridge

First stop on our ride is in a small village that is famous for its Thanh Toan Bridge. little bridge Thanh Toan Bridge, a Japanese bridge built in the 1700’s. It is a quaint wooden bridge in a quiet town. Note: At the time of this post I discovered the bridge has been disassembled for possible renovations.

Lang Co Beach 

Our second stop is at Lang Co Beach. We stop at what looks likes a once great beach resort but now appears to be fallen into disrepair. There is a place to buy jewelry on this stop (there is always is). I don’t bother going in so not sure if it was gold or whatever. We walk through the resort to get a view of the beach. If it isn’t for all of the trash on the beach it seems like it could be a wonderful place during season. I see some medical waste.

Hai Van Quan

Last stop is the Hai Van Quan along the Van Hai pass. Van Hai Pass is the curvy scenic road that you take into Da Nang. It is quite overcast today but it does still look pretty out the window. We stop at the Hai Van Quan. Built in 1826 by King Minh Mang the gate overlooks Da Nang and also contains an old French fort and Vietnam War bunker.

Da Nang

Finally I am in DaNang. I think I am the only passenger stopping here, the rest are onto Hoi An.

I had high hopes for Da Nang. I am going to visit that famous hand bridge, the marble mountain, and more…. but of course I am visiting during rainy season. I knew there is a risk of rainy days but pretty much my whole time in Da Nang consisted of thunderstorms, not unlike the tropical storms we get in Florida. I felt at home, sort of.

My room is on an upper floor and I have a great view of the ocean.

Storms start. I head upstairs to get a look at the pool. It is closed of course. I’ll try for a visit later.

As the storm progresses the wind gets stronger. The weather proofing from the windows does not hold and water slowly puddles in. I use towels from the bathroom to soak up the water so it doesn’t further flood the room. I later call to tell them repair is needed but they don’t seem too concerned so I just make sure to ask for more towels since mine are all on water duty.

It is later before the storms end. I am not in the mood to explore town in the evening. Instead I take pictures of Lady Buddha off in the distance.

I send an email to my family to check in and let them know I am safe. It is soon after I get a reply from one aunt who remembers my uncle getting stationed in Da Nang during the Vietnam war. I had no clue, war stories don’t seem to be widely discussed. It is odd for my aunts to imagine it being a vacation resort town now when my uncle had a vastly different experience here many years ago. It makes me appreciate how far things have come since then.

Day 2

It is supposed to storm once again all day. I decide not to arrange a ride to sights and just take more downtime since I am not in the mood to be out in the rain.

Buffet breakfast is interesting at the hotel. This is the first place I’ve been at in a while that doesn’t offer a western style breakfast.

During breakfast the storm comes again.

Got a little rooftop pool time during one the brief times the sun comes out. I almost have the entire pool to myself. It is a nice and relaxing view but doesn’t last long because the storms start again.

My hotel offers afternoon tea. I decide to take advantage of it today.

A couple hours pass and I am sick of wasting time watching movies and such. I am in the mood for pizza and luckily the rain stops again. I find a European style pizza place run by an Italian ex-pat near by.

L’Italiano Da Nang

After all that food I need a walk, luckily the rain still hasn’t begun again. I walk down to My Khe Beach.

My Khe Beach

On the way to the beach I walk by some seafood markets. The different types of crustaceans and clams fascinate me.

It is a little challenging to walk across to the beach. There is a steady stream of traffic and they are going much faster than Hanoi. I am scared to try the Hanoi cross here. Luckily traffic lightens up enough for me to cross.

The beach is nice and quiet with only a few people relaxing in the sand; it is off season so it is normal for the beach to be empty.

The rain starts again so I head back to my hotel. This evening is Halloween and rain does stop briefly in the evening for me to go out for a beer. There is a not so crowded bar and food area about 5 blocks away I don’t stay long because I am sure the rain will start again soon.

My stay in Da Nang is short and I pretty much miss all the main attractions but I am well rested. I’ll have to return to Da Nang sometime when it is not rainy season!

More Hanoi

I am back in Hanoi. I have moved hotels to experience a different part of town and to save some money. The streets are smaller here. The hotel is satisfactory but my only complaint is the weird placement of the bathroom inside an existing room box. It makes me think the bathroom was added later. There is some mildew smell but that is typical in budget hotels in southeast Asia. Usually those smells bother me but I find myself more likely to just go with the flow here. When did I become so easy going, lol?

My room has some snacks to purchase. The universe must hate me because look what I am offered – squid chips!

More train street

I once again walk by train street. I see they are getting more lax with their security since people are actually walking onto the tracks to get pictures. I wonder if in time they will re-open the coffee shops and cafes?

Temple Of Literature

I am heading to the temple of literature. The temple of literature was built in the 11th century as a university dedicated to Confucius. One of the highlights are the Bia Da (Stone Stelae) standing stone slabs used to commemorate graduates.

GREAT PORTICO OF VAN MIEU

I walk back to the main building (Đại Thành Sanctuary). I am not in fully modest attire so I am given a robe to wear for modesty. It is definitely not in an american size. It barely fits me. It is hot out and this extra covering makes me sweat more but it is what I have to do to sight-see around here.

In that same complex I visit a very interesting Hermès exhibit and for that I’ll create a separate post.

Later today I visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. I’ll create a separate post for that as well.

After a long day of sightseeing I am craving western comforts. A couple on my junk boat cruise recommends 4P pizza. It is a Vietnam pizza chain. I am very satisfied with my pizza, mozzarella salad and wine. Since my visit is close to Halloween all of the staff is dressed like witches. It is a fun little escape with some comfort food for the night.

I grow fonder of Hanoi the more time I spend here.

More later…..

Home made pizza

I am a pizza freak. If unrestrained, I could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have been talking about making home-made dough for a while now. I decided to try making pizza from scratch about a week ago. My goal is to come up with a dough recipe that uses alternative grains such as buckwheat and to possibly eliminate the use of yeast in the recipe. However for this pizza, I used the tried and true whole wheat pizza dough recipe that is in the The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso. It was not a difficult recipe to follow. We love to make our own tomato sauces so the pizza sauce is a variation of the spaghetti sauce we normally make.

The following ingredients were used in sauce:

  • Muir Glens Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • Veggies sauteed in olive oil (eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, onion, garlic)
  • Medley of fresh and dry herbs (bay leaf, oregano, basil, thyme)

Finally, I shredded Organic Valley mozzarella cheese for the cheese topping.

Final Notes
The pizza was quite good but the dough was a little thick and crunchy. The dough recipe allows to make two pizzas. The extra dough can be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator as long as it is covered. For the first attempt, I had preheated the pizza stone. I did not do this on the second pizza. Additionally in the second attempt, I used a rolling pin to flatten the dough to make it look more pizza like and to even the dough throughout. Finally, in addition to the mozzarella cheese, I added some grated cows milk cheese that I purchased from whole foods. The cheese had a similar taste to a parmesan. While I enjoyed both pizzas, the second was definitely better. Sorry I did not take pictures of the latter because we were rushed to eat it before a Broadway show.