I’ve been following reports of Typhoon Xangsane that hit the central Viet Nam coast at Da Nang, Hue, and Hoi An over the weekend. It took roofs off, and collapsed buildings. Current reports are 7 dead — I suspect that’s optimistic. One of the travellers I met in Viet Nam was a civil engineer from Australia who was appalled at the buildings she saw under construction — poor quality, not strong walls, despite growing heights. Hoi An is a small old town full of tourists, with major resorts on the ocean and the town itself on the river not far inland. Queries have been posted on the Lonely Planet’s Thorntree Forum, but it’ll be a while before anyone who was in Hoi An will be able to post.
On a lighter note, I happened across The Amazing Race on TV last night and they were in Saigon, so I stopped to watch. One of the rules was that participants were not allowed to drive or ride motorbikes at any time in Viet Nam, for safety reasons. Travelling in Viet Nam and NOT riding a motorbike is near impossible.