Half-torn buildings and flashy billboards of mega-resorts to come in vietnam’s third largest city made a curious disconjunct for me; china beach was the hangout of choice for america GIs during the devastating vietnam war. But turn away, and face the eternal sea with the marble mountains standing stoic and hazy to the north. The vast length of the coastline had me in awe; danang has over 30km of coastline and i was only on one speck of it.
A lady, all wrapped in a straw-hat and scarf hurried down the sand to me, waving greetings and bringing me back to today. She had her business smile on (did i mention the vietnamese are relentlessly good salespeople?), and her face was deeply etched and browned by the salty wind. I wondered how long she had been panhandling, and had to tear my eyes off the lines on her face, her squirrel-bright eyes. I refused the nifty marble carvings (always tough selling buddha to an asian) and paid for the umbrella+seat. USD 2- i could sit there all day.
Except i only had one day to explore.
In the day typically, china beach (locally: my khe beach) lays quiet as far as the eye can see. Save for the lone swedish surfer (very bronzed, unsucessfully trying the waves), and the few bodies laying out mirage-like to tan at the distant resort, we had it all to ourselves. We estimated it would take a slow stroll of two hours to the string of restaurants ahead. Hc was not keen. I wasn’t too troubled wondering where all the tourists of danang were; the waves and many blues and sand were mesmerising.