Last of the Danang siteseeing
We are dialing it back a notch as we finish our time in Danang. Chris was asked by our organizer months ago what she want to see in each city. With a little bit of research Chris requested to see the big Catholic church downtown and the Han Market in Danang, but we were open to anything our tour guide had to recommend. So we saw that and more.
The church downtown was pretty in pink and white, but since it was not during a service time, it was closed, so we just took pictures of the outside and left.
Our guide suggested we next the visit the Cham Museum nearby that had relics from the seventh century. The Cham race are a Hindu minority that had to flee to the hillside after losing a war against the majority Kinh race caused by a royal inter-marriage that ended in disaster. Our guide went into a very detailed description of the conflict and of the meaning of Hindu gods the Cham worshipped. It was almost not boring.
Trolling the grounds of the museum were two university students who were given an assignment to practice their spoken English with native speakers. The professor had given them a questionnaire to spawn a conversation with strangers. One student talked with Marissa and Chris and the conversation eventually got around to the international fireworks competition that was taking place in Danang this weekend between five countries (Philippines, Spain, China, Australia, and Vietnam) and how much you miss when you only watch it on TV. It was a very pleasant conversation.
Another student caught me. A little more reserved, she told me she was a student then just handed me the questionnaire to read for myself. I obliged, but I’m not sure it improved my English. I resisted the urge to correct the many typos the professor had made on the questionnaire.
We went to the Han Market next. Chris had forgotten that she had already been there 11 years ago. The first floor was a food market with fresh food… and some not so much. Chris told me I should be glad that I have no sense of smell.
The second floor had clothing and accessories. She found a small gift for Katie at the please-triple-the-price-because-I-am-foreigner surcharge. Chris even admitted again afterward that she knew she was being taken advantage of. And I have to admit it wasn’t much money to worry about anyway.
We then went up the mountain to the Hải Vân pass that separates the Danang and Hue provinces. Only tourists (and gas trucks that are forbidden to use the new tunnel that goes through it) take the beautiful winding road up and down the mountain. At the top were still intact bunkers built by the French to ward off attack by the natives. This country has a long history of conflict.
We also stopped at the largest hospital in Danang where Marissa might have been born. I pointed out to our guide that Chris works in a hospital and he queried whether she was a nurse or a doctor. Even after she said “neither,” our guide sought medical advice from her. As someone who was formerly overweight and a smoker, he still had high blood pressure and was on medication for it. The medical information sheet that just so happened to have with him indicated the medication was to be taken at night while his doctor had told him to take it in morning. This caused him much consternation and he wanted her opinion. After Chris pointed out that his three large cups of coffee could also be contributing to his high blood pressure he fretted some more.