Old Da Nang and New Da Nang on a Starry Starry Night

It was windy and cold in Da Nang last night. I was alone for Tet. I felt sort of free and alive in the cold night air. I decided to ride up to the headland. It was REALLY windy and a pretty dangerous night to be mountain riding but I had my leather jacket on for warmth and protection so I screamed up the mountain to the headland along the steep windy roads in the darkness, my headlight piercing the night on the unlit turns. My blood pumped and the wind roared in my ears.

There were lovers standing at the lookout in thick jackets hugging each other and contemplating the universe under the starry sky and the far away city lights of Da Nang with the big brightly lit carousel standing high above the city skyline.

I rode a bit further along just to the left side of the giant Lady Buddha statue in front of the temple entrance which was guarded by two giant stone lion spirits.

Pulling up in a dirt side track, I parked my bike and clambered down the mountain a little bit to grassy outcrop and watched the trawlers scooping up fish and prawns with their long lines and nets around the rocky headland.

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As I contemplated the glimmering lights of Da Nang from under the Lady Buddha’s shoulder I imagined that I could see the strong wind curling up in big circular bursts like Van Gogh did. I thought about the lesson I’d given that afternoon about the way Van Gogh draws the wind in long twisting lines. Even though the sky was clear of clouds I imagined that I could see the wind anyway.

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I sat there in silence listening to the wind howl as the grass waved furiously in the night air all around me. I turned to look at the two great lions behind me and then back to the little fishing boats now moving away from the dangerous rocks and back towards the dock. I looked up at Lady Buddha and then off at the far carousel, lighting up in bright patterns, trying to outdo the Han River bridge in intensity of light. I felt all alone watching a frozen image of Old Da Nang and New Da Nang superimposed over each other.

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I took some photos but they were very blurry due to the darkness and wind. I sepia toned them to take away the effect of the bad focus on the colour. It makes it look more like Old Da Nang that way anyway.

“Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” by Don McLean

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night

You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could’ve told you Vincent
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

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