Thursday, April 28, 2016

Da Nang, Vietnam

I have been seriously slacking on this blog. I am sorry dear readers. I love blogging, I love writing, I love telling my stories. However, I have been busy. What a seriously lame excuse. Excuse no more! I am back!

In Vietnam, which sounds so far away now, we traveled from Saigon to Da Nang where we met the rest of the gang at an Airbnb house. Did I give the background of this trip? The reason we are in Vietnam? I suppose I should explain considering the few months leading up to the trip when we told people we were going to Vietnam for 10 days over New Years, the most common response was.... why?

I just don't think a lot of people think of it as a vacation destination. Their loss.

Ok, ok. Back to the reason we were there. I have loads of badass friends. Two of which got married in 2014, and six months after that decided that their honeymoon would be to sell their stuff, quit their jobs and travel around the world for.... we thought a year, but they're having that who knows how long it'll be! Michelle and Gabor are enviable adventurers and you can peep them here. They're currently on a 30-day trek through Nepal. I mean....

So, they traveled through Europe and Africa and India, and then planned to be in Southeast Asia right around the end of the year. So Dan and I, along with Tommy and Jes and 5 other people decided to meet up with them on that side of the world.

Planning this trip was not easy. Trying to figure out budgets and priorities for 11 people can be overwhelming. But because a few of my fierce lady friends are great organizers and have slight obsessions with Excel Spreadsheets, we made it happen.

Saigon was a must. As was Hoi An, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. Da Nang was not a must on this trip. Da Nang was the city chosen based on the fact we would be there over New Year's and it was a large priority that during those few days over any other that we all be in the same house. So that's where we found a large, reasonably priced house that would hold all of us.

We took a short flight from Saigon to Da Nang, and then a cab from the airport to the house. On the ride in, it was clear how much different Da Nang was from Saigon. It was almost like I exhaled. The city blocks were wider, the restaurants were massive and spread out. However, as we got closer to the rented house, it seemed very industrial and somewhat desolate. The majority of homes surrounding ours were half built.

But then around the corner from our home, was a five star Hilton resort in construction. The juxtaposition of that was rather shocking.

We arrive at the house around 9pm where the rest of the group has already arrived. I hadn't seen most these people in quite a while nor have I told them about Dan and my recent engagement! I shared the news and we jumped up and down and hugged and looked at the ring and drank beers and caught up as everyone else had also been visiting different cities. Before we knew it, it was 1am and we all needed to get to bed.

The next morning was New Years Eve day. We laid low and stocked up on snacks and booze for the party that night.

That night we ate dinner, drank champagne, sang and danced on our rooftop, watched fireworks. Then, it was time to go out.

We scanned my Vietnam Lonely Planet book and found a bar that promised a "social, rather predictable expat bar with clientele of boozy regulars". DONE!

We rolled up there, drank tower upon tower of beer with the boozy regulars. Drunkenly confessed our love for each other and counted down to the new year smooching our sweeties. What a way to ring in the new year. It definitely won't be one I soon forget.

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