Vibrant Vietnam - 2007

whether or not to tip the family for their graciousness or leave with warm goodbyes and no money gifts. We finally agreed that we could not find a way to offer a tip to this proud man and so we left as we had entered, hiding beneath our umbrellas and hurrying out into the still pouring rain, after self-consciously calling out our thanks. It was a memorable experience in spite of the oddities inherent in the visit. M ONSOON R AINS & F LOODS The streaming rains continued all through the night and when we awoke we found the courtyard in front of our hotel filled with puddles rapidly coalescing into ponds. We left the city at 8 in the morning hoping to escape before the flooding closed all the roads. We found several of the southward possibilities already completely under water and impassable. Our driver finally located an open road and we joined the almost “lethal” traffic on its way to Da Nang. The winds were howling and shoving at us and the huge trucks that came splashing and lumbering by. And as time passed, the road became more congested and its surface ever slicker. The high pass over which we were to traverse the Marble Mountains was deemed too dangerous because of the wind and rain and we instead used an incredibly long tunnel of 6 kilometers, constructed by the Japanese. When we emerged on the other side, the rain was much softer and the winds had disappeared. Those mountains were a temporary barrier to the storming monsoon; however, only temporary.


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