I am not going to Danang in the morning.
I’m not the only one.
Vietnam’s Most Live-able City™️ has had a COVID-19 flare up.
Three people are infected (and one in Quang Ngai). Doesn’t sound like much but they don’t muck around in these parts.
So I am not going to Danang in the morning. Mind you, my friend, who just moved to Danang, isn’t going anywhere in the morning either.
But there are worse fates. He just sent me a picture of his feet and beyond the tops of his sand-sprinkled toes I see a view of the sea.
“Marooned here for two weeks? Yeah, poor me,” he says and looking at his picture on my phone I can instantly hear the sound of waves lapping on the shore and imagine the taste of a cold beer, or three, washing down a rake of scallops fried in oil with scallions and topped with peanuts.
Meanwhile, I have been traipsing through the smog of HCMC’s district 1, where… let’s say precisely 57.5% of the population is wearing a mask again.
For who knows who’s been to Danang lately (and met someone who met someone who met someone who has the virus).
“Ninety percent of all domestic tourists in Danang lately have been from Hanoi,” says my friend, creating an off-the-cuff stat (this talent of his is why we are friends) based on how many Hanoi accents he heard at Danang Currently-Not-So-International Airport two weeks ago. “You’re not from Hanoi, and you were there recently,” I point out as he might have met someone who met someone who met someone who has the virus. But he grimaces as if I don’t get the point. He means the odds are in our favour in the south.
Like, if you’re a betting man/woman, the smart money is on the virus going north.
And just then someone in the cafe coughs. And that someone who coughed is the person who made our coffees. Which we have drunk every last drop of.
So we look at the coffee-stained bottoms of our empty cups, stand up brusquely, make our excuses (“I have to um… go?”, “Yes, me too?” ) and leave.
But we have nowhere to go really.
And nothing to do.
No bags to pack.
Or e-tickets to print.
Because, we’re not going to Danang in the morning. We’re not the only ones.