Riding Vietnam Day 170: DaNang

I checked out of the homestay in an effort to reach DaNang (a mere 25 km away) for the night and experience something a little different after growing a bit old with Hoi An. But first I went back to the Hoi An market for some quick and easy cheap eats. I ate cau lau once again along with some crispy fried wontons. Cau lau is tasty but considering it is Hoi An’s treasure and the dish that is the backbone of any cook’s cookbook I am not overly impressed but then again I should probably hold my tongue when I am eating something as good as this for just under a dollar. The crispy wontons were an unusual presentation. These large and light yet sturdy bubbly crisps were a canvas for some Asian flare in the form of golden crunchy onions, green spring onions, cilantro leaves, tomato chunks that provided a salsa accent, some kind of miniature meatballs worked into the wonton dough, and a spicy yet sweet chili sauce. I don’t know what told them to put all that together in such a way but you won’t hear a complaint from me. To close out my time in Hoi An (at least for the time being since I had a date at the hospital to hear the verdict on my God willing potentially healed wounds), I went to the mechanic and get it properly serviced. No longer would I be riding with shallow treads, a missing mirror, and a battered rear brake foot stand. The number of repairs came to a price I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with but a fair deal nonetheless with the thorough job he performed onto the bike to get it running the way it was always meant to. I am not going to lie I hate when a bunch of onlookers and friends of the mechanic come over to observe this curiosity. I hear and see their laughter which may be from good natured humor but I always get this funny sense that they are laughing over how badly they are about to screw over this chump American. After bunging up my luggage, I rode out of the ancient, historic city of Hoi An for the cement and high rise conundrum of big city DaNang. DaNang lies directly off the beach and caters to the resorts offering up clean white stretches of open sand that I sadly cannot take part in. To be fair a prevalent reason for me camping out in Danang for the night could be traced back to a Tinder date that I arranged from the day prior. I figured why not? Let’s experience something a little edgy in an attempt to leave no stone unturned. After bonding over foodie topics and our shared misery in motorbike accidents during our web based conversations, I thought hey maybe this actually might not be painfully awkward. We met up at a Western cafe (not country western themed with over the top Quentin Tarantino flare but rather an American style menu) where I got to dine on a delicious yet overpriced chicken pistachio sandwich. Unless the waitress had plans on giving me a meal long back massage, I could have satiated my hunger with another cheap bowl of pho (it’s the little yet oh so vital things in life that grind my gears). Back to the date itself before I go on a food based tangent. The conversation wasn’t dull as we went down avenues I didn’t see coming but this Filipino be bat crazy. After a dining experience that stripped my wallet (no I didn’t pay for her meal) to show that somethings just can’t be let go, we continued the evening that held no promise with a walk along the river and its many lit up bridges, one of which is composed of a full on dragon that just so happens to spew mist at night for some unknown reason. After a standard goodbye, I could return to the toned down normalcy of my mind and to the company of fellow backpackers at my hostel. It was nice to be back in realm of hostels to meet new people after being with the same group for the past week. These wings of mine need some room to grow and gain flight. Traveling solo is definitely my mode of operation. For better or for worse, I can’t travel with people for too long. I need my freedom to go about it as I choose.

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