1 year on....parahanoia

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December 16th 2016
Published: December 16th 2016
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1 year in Da Nang! .....a new lease on the house and the gas ran out...how timely! 1 phone call.....10 mins later kid screams up, installs new bottle, checks for leaks....just as well as the bottle lives right under the cooktop, gives me a bottle of detergent as a 'promotion', and races off.....service like you wouldn't believe....and $12 for 1 year of gas!

It's still raining.....Well, it is the stormy season and the start of winter......6 official storms so far but only 2 worth writing home about. Half the 50 metres of beach are washed away one day, waves crashing right up over the road, amazing things uncovered, like an archeological site, beachside restaurants slope awkwardly, the stormwater outlets become rivers, a few days later the sand is back! the restaurant balcony reinstated, roofs replaced, palm trees uprighted, debris disappeared....like nothing happened.......but the rain continues relentlessly, stormwater rivers carve great valleys across the beach.

There are still a lot of people out at dawn, even in the drizzle.....across the bay Lady Buddha watches over us, could be a madonna if you squint, a giant black buoy has washed in, it moves up and down the beach, I wonder when it will go back out, it's been here for 6 months, sometimes half buried in the sand, sometimes high up the beach, it wanders up to 5 kms along the beach then returns, very strange currents.It's still raining, I've got the doors open as it's 23 and humid but I've put on long pants and socks, psychocold. Bugger me, a bloody rat just strolled in the back door, a classic drowned rat, scampered as soon as I yelled at it, sprinting down the side of the house.The ratsak is washing away! Might have to get a dog.

Riding home from work in a big storm, across the bridge, the poncho flapping, water cascading down the huge, bright orange, illuminated cables and then streaming horizontally across the road, no-one can see anything, it's blinding.....at the roundabout two bikes connect and together slide under a car, no time to stop as I'm swept along with the tide

A weekend in Hanoi, I was a bit wary, parahanoia?....but it was soo good....sunny, warm and clear wtf...this can't be Hanoi in December!!....lovely Hoappy birthday....and real Pho and Bun Cha.......flying back Monday evening, a most speccy red sunset on departure that increased in intensity for 15 minutes after takeoff.....and then a yuge full moon on arrival....although, as we descended, all to soon to disappear behind the massive storm clouds that have been pissing on DN all day! They were predicting today and/or tomorrow to be the wettest days since Uncle Ho was a boy.

I pedalled over to Tram's Mum's for the vegetarian My Quang Chay breakfast that the family prepare for Day 1 and Day 15 of the lunar calendar....when everyone is supposed to be vegetarian.....(I think I told you about VN vegetarianism?.....with beef, or chicken or pork).....Anyway, it was a short break in the rain that I mistook for a short break in the rain...halfway back, in the middle of the big Tran Thi Li bridge it dumped several reservoirs worth of water on me!! Not even enough time to slip on the plastic poncho, too late (she cried!) I just had time to slip the phone and wallet into a ziplock bag and pedalled on manfully....drenchedfully.....everyone looking at me with that sort of half pity, half mocking, half wonderment (they always do things by 3 halves here) that they save for foreigners...they have this idea that, although we are all incredibly rich (and I'd like to think, good looking) we are absolutely hopeless when it comes to doing anything but teaching english and drinking beer. Several times, in both houses I've lived in, I've managed to make some minor repairs etc...changing light globes, repairing broken furniture, hanging doors, drilling plugs into the wall to hang a mozzie net, fixing a tap washer, pumping up a bike tyre....you know, hugely complex operations....the landlord or the neighbours look on in total amazement....jesus fucking christ...the foreigner can actually hold a screwdriver....by the right end...wonders will never cease...quick Nguyen, call the Hanoi Guiness book of records....

And it's still raining! Very rough, ugly and dirty waves this morning, for such a wide, open beach there are incredible currents and extraordinarily choppy wave patterns......several groups of men, from 4 to 15, in circles kicking/heading a soccer ball keeping it aloft for such a long time, these guys are really good. Sometimes they kick it to me as I run past, the first time I kicked it....straight out into the water....next time I headed it back, it hurts!!....these guys have heads of steel.....some groups have the volleyball nets and play remarkable shots with just heads and feet.....real olympic quality.....and there are a few frisby throwers and a couple of couples badmintoning...bizarre watching them on these windy days, the cock travelling horizontally....

Sat and Sun mornings the little girls come for English and cooking classes, they are so cute but also so smart, leave the boys for dead....and the big girls come for dinners and take me away on the weekends.....somebody wants to go back up to the border for NYE...it's going to be snowing!...I'm staying here.....traditionaly the rain stops at the end of the year but these days.....

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