|Hoi An, VietNam
The exitement was building as game day approached, and I had my doubts that I'd actually be able to see any of the big game. Since we're 12 hours behind EST, it was going to be an early Super Bowl Monday. I ran down stairs at the crack of dawn just like a youngster on Christmas morning. Fortunately, our hotel had internet, because although VietNam is a bustle of activity at early hours, I'm not sure any internet cafes would be open. I was getting driblets of information from the net, when a Vietnamese man found the game on a TV next to me! Peter (certainly not his given Vietnamese name), who lives in Las Vegas and was visting family in Hoi An was also rooting for the Steelers! (He had money on the game.) Even his daughter Cindy was a fan! Well, I needn't bore you with details of the STEELER'S HUGE WIN (I'm sure everyone was watching anyway), but we had a hootin', hollarin' good time. We didn't have a Terrible Towel, but I improvised with my Terrible Shirt! (If nothing else, I'm sure it is terribly stinky.)
Still ecstatic from the game, we rented bikes from the hotel, and pedalled to the beach. It was a charming, gentle 5km ride through rice paddies. The beach was one of our favorites, somewhere between the serenity of Mui Ne and the craziness of Nha Trang. We parked ourselves at a table and sand chairs shaded by a large grass umbrella. The hardware belong to a beachfront restaurant, but we ordered lunch there and could stay all day.
The surf was pounding all day long -just the way I like it! (Jed -if you're reading this, think Mtunzini!) It's like wrestling in a washing machine. Wave after wave would toss me around like a ragdoll, and I'd end up 500 meters away from where I started! Then it was right back in for more. Ann tried to come in and play, but a few close calls with the bikini send her straight back to the safety of the shore.
The beach also brought vendors of every type, selling wares and services. At times, it was overbearing -a saturation of offers, and nobody taking "No, thank you" very easily. But there were a few indulgences - like when Ann wanted a foot massage! And for only $2.50! They also do a very odd "waxing" procedure on the beach. Ann saw two other ladies getting this procedure, but found it too painful for her likes. They rub chalk on the leg and then criss cross the leg back and forth with kite string (or maybe fishing line?) yanking out hairs. Ouch!
For some unexplained reason, I have a particular affinity for some of the old ladies selling wares, and market ladies in general. I love to make them laugh with silly faces or crazy antics. Ann thinks I'm a nut, but the ladies love it. They laugh and shout back and forth with their friends -I can only imagine that they are saying, "Look what this crazy foreigner is doing!"