Hey….I’m kinda slacking off in my blog although I don’t want to because I like giving updates in case anyone reads this….But I am definitely getting lazier as time goes on. I figure it’s because living in Danang has become less exciting….it’s been 5 months so things were bound to change.
To sum up briefly:
LUNAR NEW YEAR (Tet) just passed and so most ppl, or everyone, in Vietnam had at least a week’s holiday. I went to my gram’s in Cam Duc to visit relatives and to experience a real Vietnamese Tet for the first time. I went on the train….not recommended during daytime hours b/c after while, you start to feel claustrophobic but there’s no way out….I was in a cabin w/a family with a whiny kid as well so that did not help. Thank goodness (and Tanny) I had a book to read which was my only English-language company for the trip. The train was late and once I thought about all the hours spent, I wished I went for the 1hr flight instead. But I’ll tell you again: Nha Trang rocks. Once I arrived in the city, it was bustling and I got spaghetti delivered straight to my hotel room and watched music videos. Nothing better to help me get over the ENTIRE day in the train 🙂
So back to New Year’s: staying with grams and my aunt is pretty good cuz they take care of me but life in the village also takes some getting used to. For example,
– the church bells chime LOUDLY at 4:30am so you can get to mass at 5 (Even my precious earplugs couldn’t block it out!)
– any chicken you eat is killed that day and usually, you see it alive beforehand
– living with older ladies means sleeping really early and there was definitely no nightlife awaited me
BUT Tet is a time to visit family and so that I did. I met relatives for the first time, ate lots of traditional dishes including fruit candies, sticky rice, and watermelon seeds, and caught up with several of my parents’ friends.
THEN it became more fun: the young ppl started arriving!!!! They usually studied in Saigon and stayed there to work and so they normally are not around in Cam Duc. I met them via some young ppl (distance relatives) whose parents “forced” them to take me out since I had no friends. We went to coffee and ate out and I spoke tons of Vietnamese. Then it hit me: I could actually be friends with these ppl BUT they live in Saigon, not Danang. And in DN, this class of ppl doesn’t exist b/c most young professionals live at home and thus, have different obligations.
It was another newsflash for me in Vietnam: Saigon is the place to be when you are young and single. It’s the economic capital, there’s lots of ppl to meet and places to go out. This time, I didn’t even have to go there to see how it differed from Danang.
Danang after 5 months is different from Danang after 2 months. By now, I see that it’s a great place for family living, but for young foreigners, it’s kind of challenging.
– It’s quiet and things are spread out so there’s no particular area that you’d go to in order to go bar hopping or try new restaurants. Most establishments shut early (by 10pm) and there just aren’t so many choices so after awhile, even the best (and there are some really good ones) get tiring b/c you’ve been to them so many times.
– Meeting ppl is hard b/c there’s just not that many ppl to meet. Again, there’s no place to go to meet young ppl so you hang out with your colleagues or the few ppl you do meet over and over again.
– Surprisingly, it is not easy to learn Vietnamese here. Most foreigners have difficulty finding a teacher and abandon the mission. I feel like my language skills should be good but they’re not.
HOWEVER, I feel that if you have a purpose in the city, like a worthwhile job, you can make it work although it takes a bit of effort. To keep my spirits up, I cruise the streets, go to Hoi An, and try to exercise. Bicyling in the city is pretty relaxing and having a motorbike is essential. Everytime I go by the beach, I definitely appreciate the natural landscapes that this city is blessed with.
Now only if Danang had taco salad, Thai food, 3 awesome nightspots and a bunch of cute boys…Maybe that’s a bit much to ask for, but I’m still hopeful.