Da Nang got a beautiful day yesterday (5 January) – blue sky and sun broken up by fleecy clouds, temperatures in the 70s. After days of gray clouds and rain, this was a much deserved beautiful day, I might add. A lot of people were out and about. A lot. This is a shot of the Son Tra peninsula taken from the Thuan Phuoc bridge at the mouth of the Han River where it spills into Da Nang Bay. I took a ride on Son Tra earlier in the day. The monkeys, for which Son Tra is famous, were apparently happy about the nice day also. Plenty of chattering and I saw several monkeys scurrying across the road, though I failed to get any photos. Alas, the nice day was a brief reprieve – raining again today.
After 8 days of steady rain day after day, early risers in Da Nang – pretty much everybody – the Vietnamese get started very early – were greeted by this magnificent sight three mornings ago. It’s 6:30 in the morning and the sun is just making its way above the horizon on almost the shortest day of the year (17 December). Friends further north in places that have real winters may be thinking that 6:30 is still pretty early for a December sunrise. You have to keep in mind that Da Nang is located at 16° N latitude, already about 7° south of the Tropic of Cancer. There is not a huge difference between the lengths of the longest and shortest days of the year. Certainly nothing like I was used to living most of my life in places like Boston, Denver, and Beijing.
Be all that as it may, this sunny start to the day was definitely a false one – by early afternoon it was pouring rain again. Things finally cleared up on the 18th and it has been nice for a couple of days since then. Alas, more rain is in the forecast. It is that time of year.
When I pulled away from my apartment at around 5:00 in the afternoon yesterday, the light did not look too promising. How wrong I was. This was taken from the Cầu Thuận Phước, the big bridge at the mouth of the Han River where it empties into Da Nang Bay. The sun was going down over the Hai Van Pass that divides Da Nang from Hue and other points north. Quite a few people were stopped taking photos. You slow down in the middle of the bridge, pull your motorbike to the side of the road, get off, step up to the railing, take the photos and then go. Actually, I was headed the wrong way for shooting this view and had to flip a u-turn in the middle of the bridge to get at the photo op. When in Rome… Anyway, the bridge has a sidewalk on both sides of the road and the railings are not too high. It was squalling intermittently and the rain brought a significant drop in temperature to go with the great clouds and light.