Standing at the summit of Hai Van Pass looking north – the seaside town of Lang Co is in the distance.
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.
The clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped about four days ago. At this time of year, gray, flat, overcast weather like this can last for days at a time, with or without rain. The temperature hovers just above 70 in the day and drops into the 60s at night. For Vietnamese used to nine months or so of hot, mostly sunny days, it feels downright cold. Yesterday, blustery 20 to 30mph winds made it feel pretty chilly out at the beach. This is looking north across Da Nang Bay at the mountains that separate Da Nang from Hue about 80km to the north. The Hai Van Pass that goes over the mountains is covered by clouds.