At the Sa Ky port I said hello and goodbye to the mother and daughter working there that I had talked with the day before. There were smiles all around.
It took about three hours to get to Da Nang by car. Our room at the Grand Mango had a fantastic view of the beach through a wrap-a-round window. I really liked the city. It was good to get out of congestion and there were plenty of modern amenities. We stumbled on the Billabong Pub and had a pizza and a cold Light Coke for less than $8. It was good to eat something familiar and in a quantity that was reasonable. After walking around for a while we settled at the Beach Beer Club which was right across from our hotel to watch the action, relax, and have some cold ones.
Thuong who is one of the managers sat down and talked with us. This is something that happens frequently. The folks are genuinely happy for us to be in their country and will practice English every chance they get. Thuong said he will be opening a class soon and would love to have us hang around to help him teach.
March 20 Friday -- Another early morning wake up for the flight to Nha Trang. Out side our window in the park were several exercise classes but we had to leave. Got to Dendro hotel at 10:00 which was too early to check in so we wandered to Central Park for some people watching. Several people had warned us that this city was a favorite spot for Russians. Actually we heard many languages and saw signs in Greek, Russian, and a few I didn't recognize. Le Petit Bistro served a great panini and with two Light Cokes was about $8. Hoping to get into our room to settle in we went back to the hotel. The room still wasn't ready so we headed to the top floor pool area. What a view! Unfortunately our room didn't have access to that view. The windows did open and we got a wonderful ocean breeze.
Later with a cold beer and light supper in mind we attempted to cross the Main Street to Central Park. Our timing was bad and we had to dodge rush hour traffic. Unlike Saigon and Ha Noi, these folks didn't want to slow down or even try to avoid you. We did make it by joining with a young family. After strolling all the way to the south end of the park, we turned back and stopped at a Russian restaurant whose name I couldn't read, ordered a couple of beers and struggled through the food order process. I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup and Roger, a club sandwich with fries, about $12. We strolled a bit north before deciding to leave the rest of the park for another time. The park is quite extensive and well laid out with many restaurants, an amusement park, villas, and sports areas. There were families, couples, friends, groups, etc. getting their evening walks in. It was a safe place with security both private and state quite visible.