Saturday morning (the 21st and Day 13) I headed to Đà Nẵng to meet Thu, an on-line friend who'd offered to show me her city.
As I sadly departed Hoi An, and for no apparent reason, the Garmin GPS that had helped me navigate so well (relatively well) suddenly displayed the white screen of death. I pulled over and did some quick troubleshooting of the factory-sealed unit and determined that if I removed the $100 SE Asia maps SD card that had seen a total of 7 days' use, the unit turned on just fine. Great! If a GPS with maps of North America were of any fucking use in Việt Nam, I was all set.
Fortunately, the next couple days would be relatively simple re navigation and I had time to come up with a Plan B.
Finding the friend's recommended hotel in Đà Nẵng (Cộng Đoàn Thanh Binh Hotel) was relatively easy, so I arrived with a minimum of emotional trauma ;-)
Click here for a link to the day's route.
My friend Thu (pron. 'Su') and I met for lunch (Bà Thôi, 96-98 Lê Dinh Duơng was good) and a bit of market wandering. I like having fresh fruit in the room, so I picked up the usual: little bananas, nectarines, an a couple apples (not Washington State apples, unfortunately). We also window-shopped dozens and dozens of windowless stalls.
I ended up staying a day to see a bit more. I also bought one of my very few non-memory souvenirs:
Black Vietnamese sandals made from used truck tires. The maker (artisan) had to search a while to find a size 48, and then charged me a very reasonable US$5 for the pair. At our first attempt, another vendor asked $10, and Thu walked me right out and into the next stall... who was quite grateful for the sale.
Since I'd seen the Marbel Mountains
and a couple pretty cool bridges the previous afternoon on the way into town, we spent a good part of the day wandering... which I've come to enjoy, greatly; soaking up the feel and the sights, sounds, and smells (!) of a place.
Tomorrow, the Hai Van Pass (see previous post about "Top Gear") and Hué.