Series: Quantum Mechanics
Dec 8, 2018
The Universe Provides
Location: Da Nang, Vietnam
The scarcity of money during my DaNang stay was a test of my resolve. Even though I am assured by my universe that I will never miss a meal or sleep on a sidewalk, my human survival instinct fidgeted gregariously. While I still had money in my online account (which I can only use thru online purchases), cash hovered precariously low for the entire duration of my stay. I am staunch in my resolve about living-off the charity of my benevolent universe. Of course, at this point, I trust the process. Otherwise, why would I venture into a country where I know no one, don't speak the language, have no booking...and survive there for 30 days on $50? That would be kamikaze! But there are occasions I waver despite its unfailing 15-year track record (with its genesis at Burningman). I don't buckle-down, but I could waver - that is my humanity.
$78 to Start a Mini-Life
I arrived DaNang with only $78 cash (no thanks to Thai Immigration who penalized me Baht 1000 for a technicality). On one occasion, I actually ran out of money for 3 days - it's a good thing I closed a barter deal with a German Deli where I could stock-up on its bread and sausages. At least I had food in my fridge that lasted me until my departure. Cash-wise, I only made $50 during my length of stay. If not for my hotel/food barter deals, I would have slept on the sidewalk and missed meals. But my universe has always been there to bail me out at the last minute. It never fails (that's why I trust the process)
With almost no cash left, I couldn't go to my favorite bar, Minsk, even though I could have a drink for as little as VND 10k ($0.40). To do anything without any expense, I could either walk down the beach boardwalk or stay inside my hotel and do some work. Often, I stay in my hotel. It's a good thing I was staying in a very comfortable room - a luxury apartment to be more accurate. Still, I could not help feeling marooned due to my self-imposed isolation.
It's Never "Them"
It is not for lack of doing my due-diligence in drumming-up money. For the most part of my stay here in DaNang, all I did was work - sending marketing pitches, knocking on doors, pounding the pavement and offering freebies. As Bashar would say, "Follow your excitement to the best of your ability without any expectation of the outcome". I've done my due-diligence while remaining positive. I find solace in that. Whatever happens, wherever I end up, I fully accept with sound thinking that everything that happens needed to happen as part of my karmic process. Or, put it another way, whatever happens, happened because I caused/allowed it to happen - that it was my doing. I alone am responsible for my lot - it's never 'them'.
Just here in DaNang, during my 30-day mini-life,
- I was asked to leave a hostel to which I already had a done-deal for a 3-week stay
- completely ran out of money for 3 days
- lost my phone
- hovered above the poverty line for the entire duration of my stay.
That would have been nerve-racking for most people. Even for me, it caused my heart to beat a little faster and my breath a little heavier. It was timely that when I started wavering, I again stumbled upon Michael Talbot, Leonard Susskind, Tesla, etc on YouTube about shifting realities...that what happens is my own doing...that I can also change it..that I am in control...always have. Of course there is also the counter paradigm of a deterministic universe. But to the extent it is deterministic, I am consoled knowing that I've done my due-diligence to make it happen. It's good to be reminded of that.
I got more anchored on my conceptual grounding about my unique situation by re-playing their video clips. Bashar was particularly compelling (don't let his alien claim take your focus away from the message). Leonard Susskind's holographic universe together with the double slit experiment were both empowering. Tesla's argument helped, that reality can be reduced to frequencies, vibrations and energies.
From renowned scientists to an alien, they were all saying the same thing. And I can connect the dots from what they were saying to my current predicament. This is not some new-age psycho-babble as science strongly supports these hypothesis with elegant mathematical equations. As I wrap my thinking into these esoteric concepts that find validation with my life experience, I hope to one day manifest such realities at will instead of simply intellectualizing its manifestation.
As my 30-day mini-life in DaNang wraps up, I also find center and bearing on what I had been going through. Again, the fact that I lavished on German sausages and bread and slept in a luxurious apartment during my times of no money is another validation that my universe provides. I cannot find a more exciting and privileged life as this. But at the end of the day, I am exhausted. Grateful, but exhausted. With thanks, I ask my universe to cut me more slack. I am not getting any younger and it's taking its toll. How about going back into the default world and work the 9-5 routine just like most people? Hmmm....you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Once you taste this life, you can't go back to the corporate world. All I'm asking for is a little slack. If that doesn't happen, hmmm, I guess I'll just have to keep backpacking until I can't...ha-ha!
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Da Nang (city), Vietnam
RESTO | BAR
DA NANG BLOGS
- 30-Day Mini-life in Danang, Goodbye and Thank You Dec 8, 2018
- The Universe Provides Dec 8, 2018
- Pampered Living at Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel Nov 14-Dec 8, 2018
- Thich Nhat Hanh in Hue, Vietnam Dec 7, 2018
- Goodbye Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Dec 8, 2018
- Beer, Burgers and Friends at CohibaR DaNang Nov 25 - Dec 6, 2018
- Friendship, Beer and Sausages at the German Deli Nov 20 - Dec 1, 2018
- Beach Yoga in DaNang, Vietnam Nov 17, 2018
- Danang Wall Art Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- The Wonderful People I met in Danang, Vietnam Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- Revisiting DaNang, Vietnam Nov 8, 2018
- Backpacking Da Nang, Vietnam Jan 12-16, 2015
Da Nang International Airport (DAD) to Downtown Da Nang
- the airport is practically on the edge of the city center about $3 by cab. Taxis from the airport taking you to the city will try to charge you VND 10,000 "airport fee" in addition to your fare. Don't pay it. The passenger coming in to the airport already paid for this. But drivers don't pay this when going out. We were victimized by a Mai Linh taxi in this manner.
FYI / Tips
- Da Nang doesn't seem to have a backpacker area like Bangkok's Khaosan Road. The establishments are spread out within the city but most of them are lined up along the river between Han River Bridge and the Dragon Bridge
- XeOm or moto taxis are cheap and not aggressive
Hanoi to Da Nang
- plane - Jetstar takes you there in 1 hour, 15 mins. Da Nang Airport is just on the outskirt of the city center...about $3 by cab
- bus - a bus may take 15-16 hours from Hanoi's Giap Bat station
- train - the Reunification Express makes a stop in Da Nang
How to Get around Da Nang
- there are no tuks-tuks in Vietnam but you can rent a motorcycle, take a cab or hire a XeOm single motorcycle
- most of the places within the city center can be reached by foot - recommended as you see more of the city on foot than on a motorbike
- still, the best way to see Da Nang is on a bicycle. VND 50,000, it is not as cheap as Cambodia ($1), but it's still not bad. Or, you can check-in at a hotel that offers it for free - like Sanouva Hotel
Things to do, Places to go in Da Nang
- Lady Buddha - a 67m white marble statue on the slope of Monkey Mountain, similar to Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer
- Linh Ung Pagoda - same location as the Lady Buddha. Built in the 18th century and rebuilt by Minh Mang, the second ruler of Vietnam's Nguyen Dynasty
- Cham Museum - world's largest collection of Cham artefacts from the 7th to 15th century
- Danang Museum - free admission. Depicts life in Central Vietnam from 14th century
- Marble Mountains - see marble making at its finest together with an assortment of fine marble handicrafts. You can also explore the area for its many tunnels, caves and grottos
- Monkey Mountain - at 693MASL, it offers a stunning vista of Da Nang. You'll pass by the Lady Buddha on the way to the top
- My Khe Beach - fine white sand beach that stretches all the way along the eastern coast of Da Nang going to Hoi An
- Man Thai Fishing Village - a fishing village still using traditional methods
Da Nang Cost Index
- VND 12,000 1.5 liter drinking water
- VND 300,000 one hour body massage
- VND 10,000 banh mi (baguette sandwich)
- VND 25,000 noodle soup with meat
- VND 10-12,000 coffee
- VND 50,000 bicycle rental, 1 day (not readily available)
- VND 30,000/kilo laundry
- VND 380,000 sleeper bus to Da Nang from Hanoi (as of 2012)
- VND 100,000 dorm bed
- VND 200,000 double bed in a fan room, shared toilet
- VND 3,000 internet cafe
- VND 80,000 taxi from airport to city center by the river
- VND 460,000 Jetstar flight from Hanoi to Da Nang (no baggage)
- VND 150,000 seafood pasta in a decent restaurant
Vietnam FYI / Tips / Dos and Don'ts
- Hanoi Grapevine HCMC Update - for the latest events in Vietnam
- Vietnam establishments will not accept US dollars, unlike Cambodia. You have to use Vietnam Dong (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- Vietnamese smokers will smoke in air-conditioned establishments, air-conditioned buses packed with people including women, children and babies. They also smoke inside hospitals with no smoking signs.
- Vietnam ranks almost the same as Thailand and Cambodia for cheap price. Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia cost more
- internet speed is generally fast and reliable but during important events like Tet holiday, election, etc., it slows down
- Vietnamese generally do not speak or understand much English. It will be a challenge.
- best to dress appropriately, not revealing too much skin (Saigon is an exception - the ladies there set the trend in very short shorts)
- remove your shoes when entering a home or place of worship
- ask first before taking someone's picture. If they say no, don't persist or offer money
- best to carry your hotel's business card with you when going out. You can just show it to the cab driver or XeOm driver if they don't understand English
- leave your valuables, passport, travel tickets, etc. with the hotel's safety deposit box
- when lying down, don't point your feet or the soles of your shoes to anyone or to a family altar
- carry only enough cash for your needs that day
- don't lose your temper in public - Vietnamese people are warm, generous and polite. They look down on people who lose their composure
- don't take pictures of military installations - you can go to jail
- refrain from taking videos of minority people until permitted to do so
Lesser-Known Vietnam Destinations
- Phu Yen Province - by the beach
- Hoa Binh Lake - locals' alternative to Halong Bay
- Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes, Tam Coc, Mua Caves, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Van Long Nature Reserve
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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