Just a brief note so as to put a fix on the map for where we are tonight. It's Da Nang, to be precise, a name that, to me, is synonymous with the American war in Vietnam.
Bruce left Hue at 7:30 this morning on his bike (finally back on his bike again and not a moment too soon) and, wouldn't you know it, it's the first day we've had rain since leaving home. It was intermittent from light showers to heavy downpours, so he had frequent stops to get out of the rain. He also bought two pieces of the local rainwear. The first one was faulty (but he might have been expecting too much for 20 cents) but at least he found the plastic bag it came in useful for keeping his wallet dry. He had a couple of good climbs, the major one being the Hai Van pass (about 12 Kms up). I was following on a bus which took the tunnel they've built under the mountain over which the Hai Van pass climbs. I don't know how long the tunnel is but it seemed to be at least two or three kilometres long and it, too, steadily climbs. There are some old bunkers at the top of the pass, both French and American, which have become a bit of a tourist looky-loo place.
My bus was supposed to leave at 8am, but didn't go until just before 9. In the meantime, standing out on the street waiting for it to arrive, I had the benefit of seeing something special. A lady on a bicycle pulled up right in front of me and started hollering at the people in the shop behind. They came out, hollering right back, and next thing I knew, the lady on the bike turns around behind her and hauls out a handful of live, wriggling eels, holds them up over the basket on the front of her bike and, with the other hand, whips out a pair of kitchen shears and deftly snips off their heads! Right there in front of me - yuk! Next thing, she flops them over on a metal plate and starts to gut them, tossing the offal in the gutter right beside me. No, I didn't take any photos - I was too busy trying to keep my breakfast in place.
On his way into Da Nang, Bruce connected with a fellow on a moto (scooter) who offered to lead him to our hotel for 30,000 dong. That was an excellent thing to do - Bruce would never have found this place in a zillion years on his own. However, he had, of course, to contend with the usual town/city traffic of thousands of motos and cyclists and, at one point, (he doesn't know if it was the car nearest him that paused momentarily or a moto) someone clipped one of the wheels on his trailer and bent the axle in. After he got through the intersection, his moto guide stopped and they, between them, bent the axle back to straight again, but now there's a concern that it may not be as strong as it needs to be.
Hoi An tomorrow - a destination that has been at the top of my list since we started thinking about this trip - and I get four nights there. Bruce will leave sooner to get on the road ahead of me.