Detour: China Beach, Vietnam

China Beach was best known as an Edenic respite from the hell of combat. During the Vietnam War, thousands of American G.I.s spent their leave surfing the 30-kilometer golden beach near the central coastal city of Danang. Years later, millions of television viewers tuned in to the acclaimed 1980s television drama based on the famed U.S. Army R. and R. base.

Danang officials would like to cash in on the mystique of China Beach, or My Khe as it is called locally, by positioning the area as an escape from modern-day stress. The locale already has some touristy...

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