It’s been a while since I moved to Da Nang, I came in November with a good deal of money saved up and the hopes of quickly finding a house and a job. The house came quickly – I found a three-bedroom Vietnamese style house within walking distance of the beach; the job did not – I’ve been working only sporadically.
The move from Hanoi to Da Nang has been a story of trade-offs. The shopping isn’t as good as it was in Hanoi. The pay is definitely not as good as it was in Hanoi. But on the other hand, I’m paying for a house here what I used to pay for a studio apartment in Hanoi – and no housing is anywhere near a beach in Hanoi. Besides, life in Da Nang has something I never had in Hanoi – quietude.
My average day in Da Nang consists of eating breakfast, running some errands, laying out on the beach at around 11AM, and then coming back for lunch and a nap before going to teach at night. Because no sane Vietnamese would go to the beach in the sunniest part of the day, I get it almost all to myself. Sometimes I’ll skip the beach and go for a quick motorcycle ride up to our local rainforest park called Monkey Mountain, and it only takes me twenty minutes to reach the top – 500 meters – to then sit in silence and watch the wind blow through the canopy. So either I can take an outing to the beach or the mountains and still have time to come back for lunch and a rest before a night’s work. Oh yes, I usually remember to post a snide comment on my facebook page like, “Hi, just had a great time at the beach – how’s snow shoveling going back in Minnesota?” at least once a week.
The winter was nothing like the gray cold affairs of Hanoi which stretch on until April, we got a mix of rain and sun in Da Nang, the temperatures stayed in the high 70’sF. So I was swimming in the sea till mid December. The temperature in March has been on a slow climb, but I still have avoided using the air conditioner, letting in the ocean breeze through the windows. I’ve really enjoyed my lifestyle change since moving from Hanoi, I suppose the only problem with Da Nang is that it is too perfect of a location. Because of it’s a small city with wide roads, no pollution, a beach and lovely country-side all around – it is THE place that every English teacher and expat wants to move to. Consequently, there are fewer working hours for everyone and even less pay to go around – I still haven’t moved into positive cash flow yet.
If work continues to be so scant I may have to stow the beach towel and head back to Hanoi for a few months to rebuild my savings, yet hopefully it won’t come to that. For several years, I’ve been trying to find a place in the world that I like, that has a nice atmosphere, good location, and is a place where I can make a living. Traveling from place to place gets quite old. I’d like Da Nang to be such a place, but so far this is still not a certainty.