New years in Da Nang

Mi really wanted to see the fireworks. She’d been counting down the days. Some days it was the first thing she’d tell me when she woke up… “Hey.. it’s only 2 days until the fireworks”. She taught me how to say fireworks in sign language. It’s surprisingly more complicated than I expected, being a three part gesture, but once you know it it’s pretty self explanatory.

We were planning to meet up with old friends from Saigon but they were a little tired, so we went out early by ourselves. We headed to our local bia tuoi place and at around 8:15. The woman who runs it sat down and asked us if we were going to see the fireworks. Of course we were, I confirmed. She told us they were at 9pm. I asked if she was sure. I mean, how can New Year fireworks be at 9pm rather than midnight ? But she assured me… 9pm at the dragon bridge.

We quickly ate our chicken and I knocked back my beer and we headed off, racing through the streets and surprised to get a seat at a cafe right near the head of the dragon. There were very few people around. I started to feel more and more uneasy. Then just after 9, Cúc messaged us to tell us they’d seen them… on the beach. Oh well. Maybe there would be more later.

We went out to a bar and hung out and listened to music, and Mi confirmed with a staff member that there would be more fireworks on the beach later. At 11:45 we dutifully paid our bill and rode off to the waterfront. We saw one solitary firework light up the sky at midnight. Apparently they didn’t start at midnight like in EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD… they finished at midnight. We both agreed Da Nang must be full of idiots.

I felt so bad. I’d tried so hard to be ready and get the best spots to see them, and I’d failed, twice. But I had one more trick up my sleeve. A couple of weeks ago at a bookshop I saw packets of sparklers. I loved sparklers as a kid so I’d bought some. I asked Mi if she’d like to go to the beach and light them or go home and she said she’d rather go home because it was sort of cold and rainy.

So we went home to a dark and quiet hotel and let ourselves out the back door and sat on the step and lit up our own tiny fireworks. And you know what ? It was way better than a crowded show at the beach.
Happy New Year everyone !

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