One thing that I love about living in Danang is the lack of travelers/backpackers. I’m sure there are plenty who pass through en route to Hoi An and other places, but in general I rarely see them. Now, this isn’t because I have something against anybody who travels – obviously I’m doing the same thing – it’s because I love the authenticity Danang has to offer.
At the weekend, we went to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). We stayed in District 1, which is one of the best places to meet travelers or to stay if you are travelling. En route to our hostel, situated in De Tham Street, you could feel the buzz of city life in the air. Motorbikes crowded the roads, food vendors sat on every corner and travelers roamed the streets with their city maps in hand. Just like Danang, the city was alive. And I did bloody love it, apart from being asked to buy something/have a massage/be taken somewhere on a motorbike every two seconds.
Whilst at our hostel, we got talking to a girl, Jessica*, who seemed sweet and was a fellow Midland-er.
She was telling us about all of the amazing places she had visited whilst in Vietnam, and how she was planning on going to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, South Thailand (I didn’t know there was a difference), Malaysia, New Zealand and was spending Christmas ‘somewhere’ in Australia. Which is absolutely awesome…if my question hadn’t have been ‘how long are you in Ho Chi Minh for?’.
As she had listed several places in Vietnam that she had visited, I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me to pick her brains about interesting places to go, in particular Dalat. I’ve been told many wonderful things about this area from my Vietnamese friends and wanted to get some more information from somebody who had ‘done’ Dalat (her words, not mine).
And all Jessica could tell me about was the hostel she had stayed in: how good it was, how alive it was and how cheap it was.
Which made me feel quite sad for Jessica, as I felt like she had misunderstood exactly what this country and its culture has to offer. I mean, clearly if she thought that the quality of a hostel defines the area it is in.
Living in Danang has allowed me to experience things that Jessica will not. I do not intend to hop from one Vietnamese city to the next, and ‘do’ Asia in 4 weeks. I don’t think this allows you to see a culture. I think its a waste of money. Instead, I hope I see less of Vietnam if it means I explore the areas I do visit in great depth.
And away from poor, little pretentious travelers like Jessica.
Note: Jessica was given a false name to protect her identity. And because I have no idea was Jessica’s real name was.