Since having the rental motorbike until morning, I rode into Dong Duong to check out the night market. While venders set up street-side stalls, the nearby lighthouse area was very active with the approaching sunset. Just a couple of foreigners sipped sunset beers on the countless lawn chairs dotting the beach, facing witness to the end of another day in paradise. Mostly local people wandered the shoreline and the jetty area off the lighthouse point. Off-time workers relaxed and chattered while children played and laughed. Elders mulled quietly around the shrine at the lighthouse and on the rocky jetty, reflecting deeper than their day’s experience.
Without noisy jet skies, happy hours, or rental kayaks, fishing boats of various sizes glided the glassy waters of the Dong Duong River to and from the sea.
A round basket boat carrying four people bobbed into town from across the river. Food venders anchored mobile wheeled carts in a sea of parked bicycles and motorbikes at road’s end in front of the lighthouse. They displayed colorful snacks and meals from fish or meat to sweets and pastries.
I could not find a suitable angle to photograph the lighthouse from neighborhood streets so walked onto the jetty. The low sun lit the tower nicely but the real sunshine radiated from four young girls. On their way home from school, they sported uniforms of blue pants and white collared shirts with bright red neck scarves. They beamed wide smiles for photographs. The girls blurted English with timid giggles; caught off guard by an unexpected actual use for the new language. “Thank you!” they shouted when they saw the images.
I thanked them for adding life and color to what would otherwise have been just another lighthouse picture.
One short nearby street was blocked off to all but pedestrians, bicycles, and motorbikes for the Dong Duong night market. Folding tables and display cabinets offering goods, clothing, and a few post-cards and souvenirs utilized less than half of the curved street. Food venders took up most space and were more like temporary all-weather restaurants. Tarped roofs housed rows of sturdy folding tables and full-sized plastic chairs. Stacks of plastic coolers held cold beer, juices, and soft drinks. A campfire aroma drifted from street-side grills of hardwood ambers slowly cooking a wide variety of fresh sea food. It was difficult to choose a meal but I finally opted for the grilled squid in a soy sauce, steamed rice, and a sundown beer.