After Ho Chi Minh City, we took a flight up to Hoi An, Vietnam. We were tired of long bus rides and with flights around $30 each, we were about to rationalize traveling in a bit more comfort for once! Although trading a 16 hour bus ride for a 45 minute flight didn't take much rationalization. Hoi An is a town with a historic feel as the original merchant houses survived the war. Near the larger town of Danang and China Beach, Hoi An has a local beach, good restaurants, and a lot of old-timey atmosphere.
Unfortunately, I got fairly sick in Hoi An and was laid up for a couple of days. We took advantage of the TV and air con and relaxed in the room. I did manage to get out on one sunny day to go to the beach for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, this exhausted me! Sad when going to the beach for just two hours and sitting on your rear makes you tired...
It was good we made it to the beach that day because it poured rain the next day. In fact, the streets flooded and I might have seen a cat, dog or two fall out of the sky. It turns out we were feeling the effects of a typhoon that hit further up north. After it cleared up, we did get to the river to see the Japanese/Vietnamese cultural festival. The lanterns on the river were really a cool thing to see.
Wondering why there is a Japanese/Vietnamese friendship festival in the small town of Hoi An? Well, there is a ancient Japanese bridge there that we got to check out:
In addition to the Japanese bridge, we did spend time walking around and seeing some of the historic sites. The atmosphere there certainly lent itself to photography. Although we saw some great aspects of Vietnamese history that were not visible in other areas got destroyed by the war, in one merchant house we visited the host lamented how much tourism has changed the town. We can believe it as it was quite touristy with every house catering to the tourist in some form or another.
In Hoi An, we got to see some typical Vietnamese scenes, like this lady selling food:
Seeing the town via old-fashioned cyclos:
Think this guy's porcelain is going to make it? Yeah, he better makes sure it's secure! We saw tons of motos carrying all sorts of crazy loads in both Vietnam and Cambodia.
Hoi An is also home to over 500 tailors, which is crazy given that the town wasn't all that big. You can get many things made to fit here. Tom got a few shirts made and I got a coat, suit, extra jacket, and dress made. All for about $120. I even wore the dress to a wedding I went to recently. No pictures of me but here is Tom working it. Should we call this face the new Blue Steel?
Despite being sick and the torrential downpour, visiting Hoi An was definitely worth it for the clothes. No I mean, the historic perspective! Well, and the clothes.