As Good As Vietnam Gets
Traveler's Journal: Ca Na Beach, Vietnam 1992
In the midst of a bicycle trip from Saigon to Hanoi in 1992, Balcony’s Jim Sullivan stopped in Ca Na Beach after a grueling 121-kilometer bike ride from Phan Rang on the south-central coast. His compatriot on this first Vietnam adventure was David Oliver Relin, the acclaimed author of Three Cups of Tea, who died tragically in November 2012.
Jim and David cycled out of Saigon on Nov. 25, 1992 and into Hanoi on Jan. 14, 1993. They were poor nhà báo (journalists) at the time, and could not afford the splendor of Vietnam’s top luxury hotel. But their first stop inside Hanoi was at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, where they parked their Cannondales against the hotel’s all-white facade and celebrated the end of a journey with gin & tonics at the Club Bar.
Before that ending, however, there were many stops along the way. Note Jim’s journal entry from Nov. 30, 1992, and a postcard view of Ca Na from that time.