Stranded on Cù Lao Chàm

And then it started to pour – nothing that different to basically any day in the monsoon season on this realm. Only it never stopped until the next evening, and it came with thunderstorm and lightning, with the occasional power cut and with darkened skies. The day before, the clear skies, the crystal water, the sun, the coconut palm trees, the sand – everything was like a distant memory of another life, in another place. We could only hope for a possible getaway – yet we should have abandoned all hope, because the storm went on and on well into the following night and day. Rivers of rain had incessantly poured down the streets and alleys of the island, infinite buckets of water had fallen for hours on end during these days where there was nothing left to do than observe the routine.

It was supposed to be a one-day trip out of Hội An, one of the most preciously beautiful cities in Vietnam, to see and enjoy a subtropical pristine island of a cluster that was once a military base and thus closed to public and tourism. We were to spend the day on the beach under coconut palms and the night there in a homestay and then go back to the mainland.

The day started according to plan: early in the morning, we got on a motorboat, arrived on the main island some 20 minutes later, and left our luggage at the homestay reception some two to three minutes after that, heading directly for the beach. It was a hot day, and the moment I could slouch on the sun bed forgotten were all the tenderly authentic market stalls we met on the way to the sun-drenched beach. I had wanted to stop a couple of times to get some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, only hesitated every time thinking I’d have plenty of time for this on the way back.

It turned out to be a clear-skyed and sunny day, and all we did was bathe, swim, read, talk, sip on juice and coffee, and fend off the locals´ tries to either ask for some made-up tax for unencumbered use of a public beach or move our sun beds to the portion of the beach that best suited the bar behind it and not the neighbours´.

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