After about a week of monsoon weather the rains finally stopped, winds died down, and flooded streets had drained and dried. The morning sun felt bright on the eyes. I pedaled the walkway south along the beach to check the aftermath of the storm. Sections of the walkway had washed away near the Sailing Club, the Louisianne Brewhouse, and two other places where side-streets from town approached the beach. Engineers in yellow hard hats already studied repairs. An army of clean-up crews in blue coveralls collected debris and driftwood from the beach for collection by big trucks. Past the old airport and right where Tran Phu Boulevard began its shallow climb up the Mount Chu hill, I dodged into the narrow streets of a fishing village.
All of the village lanes were lined with colorful laundry drying in the sun.
Drying the laundry
Carpeting, bedding, and even mattresses told of household flooding. Lanes that narrowed to nearly the width of my bicycle handlebars most often ended at private homes but some led to more alleyway streets. I eventually found access to the sea between rickety shacks propped high on stilts. Subsiding waves crashed the shore beneath the low-income housing. I found a small market along the waterfront and it seemed odd that there was no fish. With recent stormy seas, I supposed the fishing fleet had stayed in port. The busiest vender was selling duck eggs. But under fresh and sunny skies, round basket boats began shuttling sea captains to anchored fishing boats just offshore.
I stopped for an iced coffee at one of the many places with small plastic tables and chairs scattered out front.
Captain coming ashore
While open doors aired out the houses, women paused their daily chores to serve the brew, hot or cold. Fishermen sipped coffee or tea and played checkers or card games while others spent their time ashore walking their young children. Older kids would say 'Hello', 'What is your name' or 'Where are you from', but their English went little beyond that. It's a pity that their parent's post-war generation spoke no English. Their stories would be fascinating. One lad did strike up a conversation in English though. He had a silver stud in each ear and his hair was cropped short at the sides and piled high to a wavy peak at the top of his head. He looked like a cross between Elvis and a western Punker. It turned out that his father, my age, was also in the war but for the other side. I had met several Viet Cong over the years and all had forgotten and forgiven, putting that storm behind them.