Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pretty Hoi An

The drive into Hoi An was a 12 hour overnight bus ride that I was not looking forward to. I don't sleep on buses or trains and the prospect of being enclosed on a rickety bus for that long didn't sit well with me. Taking a Gravol, I did manage to sleep fitfully, but awoke partway into the trip to see that we were making our way down a large hill with a large body of water at the bottom. Everything was black except that the water was lit up with hundreds of lights, making it look like a huge friendly alien invasion. Disoriented from the Gravol, I stared out the window, smiling like a dope, thinking The aliens sure look nice. Shiny. They won't hurt me. Then the moment was broken when I was told that the lights were used for fishing squid. I frowned at this. So beautiful and just fishing lights? I hope that if aliens do come to earth that they are as stunning as this.

I don't really know what to say about Hoi An because not much really happened there, but I loved it. Hoi An is simply a pretty place, the kind of place you can just wander for hours looking around. The houses and buildings are all brightly coloured - yellows, purples and indigo blues - with wide shutters painted in complimentary colours. Many of the buildings have broad wooden verandas on the second floor that look out onto the street. Handmade colourful Chinese lanterns hang for sale in most of the stores and at night the restaurants along the river are gorgeous - old colourful buildings with textured walls, with candles lit along the tables and colourful lanterns hanging everywhere. Two of the more popular cafes had small pastry shops where you could buy pain au chocolat, tarts and cakes. It felt like the kind of place I could stay for a while, maybe write a book.

Hoi An also had tailors, hundreds of tailors. Everywhere you walked you were called by a vendor with promises making you anything you wanted. I had a wool winter coat tailored to my sepcification and size for $30. Everyone I met had spent hundreds of dollars on shoes, bags, coats, suits and even tuxedos. Suddenly I wished that I wasn't going to be traveling for another four months.

I wish that I could say more about Hoi An because this entry doesn't seem to do it justice. So you are all just going to have to pick up and visit Hoi An on your own. Maybe a few of you will stick around so that you can write a book. Make sure you try the choco-choco tarts from Tam Tam.


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