Da Nang and Phu My, Vietnam, MAR 19 2024

We had one day at sea before our next sea port. It was St Patrick’s Day and the ship celebrated with cakes and decorations in the dining rooms.

We were thrilled that the weather was warming up considerably and we were once more able to enjoy our breakfast and lunch out by the Sea View pool each day. We were also enjoying very calm seas. No seasickness pills needed. 

With the weather getting hotter, we found 2 one gallon jugs of drinking water in our stateroom provided by the ship with a card warning us to stay hydrated.

Our next port of call was Da Nang, Vietnam.

See this link to Da Nang, Vietnam JAN 27, 2020. The shipping port is extremely busy and for that reason we were not allowed to walk anywhere in the area. Very understanding considering all the trucks and forklifts. Definitely not a picturesque port. We were last here in 2020 right before the pandemic. On that visit we had a nice excursion to the charming little city of Hoi An. See this link to Hoi An, Vietnam JAN 26, 2020. This time we didn’t see any excursions of interest and hoped the cruise ship or city would offer a shuttle bus into the city of Da Nang. The shuttle never materialized so we decided to stay on the ship. They did offer a golf cart to the port gate.

We were told outside the security gate some locals had set up tents with souvenirs and handicrafts for sale. We rode the golf cart to the drop off point, only to discover a large group of young men aggressively wanting us to take taxis into the city or take us on private tours. They were very insistent and refused to take no for an answer. We never saw any items for sale and quickly took the golf cart back to the ship. 

The ship celebrated Viet Nam with food and decorations.

We had a day at sea before reaching Phu My, our second Vietnam port. It is a deep water port and another busy shipping port. Ships docked here offer excursions to Hanoi. We did this in 2020 and remember the long bus ride to and from Hanoi. This time we found an excursion to the nearby town of Ba Ria. This is a rural area where many of the people have lived their lives the same way for generations, untouched by urban development. 

Our first stop was a Buddhist temple. The property itself is large and we were told 700 elderly homeless people live here and are cared for.

Here are some of the city scenes.

Wood Is Need For Many Small Businesses

Statues Cutting Beside The Road (Mother Mary)

Everything Carried By Motorbike

Nhà thờ Kim Hải Catholic Church

County Government Office

Next we visited the home of what the guide said was a local wealthy family. It was rather strange since it appeared to be more of a museum than a home someone lived in.

With the weather getting hotter by the minute, we stopped to see the process of making rice paper. We were all offered the chance to make rice paper, but it was so hot in the cramped space, none of us lasted longer than the time it took to take pictures.

Drying In The Sun

The Kitchen

We noticed that the same vendors that had been at the temple were at this location. Our guide told us the vendors knew the tour schedule and followed us during the day on motorbikes from one location to another. They figured they would wear us down by the end of the day and everyone would eventually buy something. They not only followed our schedule, but managed to beat the bus to each location!

Next we stopped at a distillery to learn how to make moonshine or rice wine. Once again it was dreadfully hot inside. We noticed black flies on the drying white rice. Certainly did not make us want us to drink the wine, and none was offered. However they did offer us fresh pineapple, bananas and bottles of drinking water.

We stopped along the side of the road at a rice field where we were given the opportunity to look at the rice up close. Too small for a clear picture.

We visited the Cao Dai temple. The Cao Dai religion was founded here in 1926. Within a year the group had 26,000 followers. By the mid 1950s, eight percent of the South Vietnamese were CaoDaist. It is a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism and native Vietnamese spirits. The official symbol is the “divine eye”, an inset into the front of the temple above the altar.

Our last stop was at a local market with food and a bit of everything else. Similar to a mini Walmart. By this time we were too hot and tired to do any shopping.

One thing we have noticed is an increase in the number of cases of colds, coughs and bronchitis among the passengers and crew. The bronchitis is of greatest concern because it seems to be making the passengers the sickest. Some are blaming it on the fact it was so cold in Japan and China and then warmed up quickly in Hong Kong. Some are blaming it on the severe smog in China. Someone told us the ship doctor called it the “Chinese Crud”. One passenger was taken off the ship in Phu My by ambulance because the ship doctor said his lungs were full of fluid and he needed to be hospitalized.  Bill and I are fine and taking precautions. We brought plenty of cough drops and cough syrup on the ship. We gave them to some sick “neighbors” on our deck. We can always buy more in Singapore if needed. 

Next up: Singapore and the cruise ends


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