Da Nang, Vietnam, March 25 2006
After my experience at 'Marble Mountain' I am feeling very mellow. Bonsoon takes me to Da Nang, which is the city very near the DMZ ; the boarder that separated North from South Vietnam. Now this is a thriving place.
I noticed the old and the new here. Beautiful new buildings going up everywhere and old trucks from the Seventies right next to modern vehicles on new paved roads.
I don't know what this tower is but it reflects what I'm seeing everywhere in Vietnam. This is an up and coming Country with a lot of talented people doing the building.
My guide takes me for a spin around the city for half an hour while we wait for my Tour bus to arrive. Now this is a site I keep trying to capture on film for you to see. These four people are trying to balance a large white chest on the back of that motorcycle. I see amazing things loaded on the bikes for transport in heavy traffic. Earlier today I actually saw a man transporting a large piece of plate glass on his bike. He was balancing it in his knees, sideways so that he was looking through it like you would look through a window. If he slips, he cuts himself to ribbons. I also have seen people carrying ten foot poles on their motor bikes. They look like jousters. I don't even like to think about it.
There is the old right beside the new here. This guy is pulling his large cart like a rickshaw. A minute after I took this photo, the man with the motorbike put this guy on the back and he pulled his cart by the handles, at twenty kilometres an hour, on the bike. I don't know how he kept from falling off backwards. Bonsoon sees me cringing and saying things to myself as we pass these scenes and he just gives me a whimsical smile and keeps driving.
The good news about Vietnam is that they use an English alphabet. I still don't know what these billboards say most of the time, but at least I can read the letters.
Time's up. I'm at my destination. I give Bonsoon twice the amount of money I promised him in our agreement, and we shake hands in fond farewell. When I travel I feel very safe most of the time because I seem to always meet someone to take me on the next step of my journey and to watch my back. And you were that for me Bonsoon. 'Coum on' and all the best to your family.