So, the holiday will be coming to an end in a week, which is obviously something I am not ready to think about yet. I always like the first half of the holiday so much more than the second, hi hi. Thankfully Hoi An takes my mind off of it, cause it is a pretty impressive town! It is very touristy, so do not expect super cheap Vietnamese prices, and do not expect to see a lot of variety in shops, but still it is a town that I definitely think you should visit when going to Vietnam.
The architecture is amazing, it involves a lot of tall buildings with balconies, which you can use to eat on and have a lovely overview over the street you are eating at. Most stores and restaurants go all the way through to the end, so it has an entrance on both sides. It is very handy if you loose the way, or if you have to be somewhere swiftly.
I would advise you not to go to Hoi An if you are in a hurry though, because you definitely have to make a lovely walk through the old city like we did. We went to a very old building which had gorgeous pearl-shell furniture and we drank a cute little cup of green tea. They had put stickers in one room to show how much the place can flood sometimes. A few years ago the water was all the way up high, meters! It was full of water until the ceiling. Really scary, and really amazing how they managed to still preserve much of the furniture.
But as with everything, Vietnamese people live with nature and they live together perfectly. Even in the crazy traffic, they still manage to keep things light and positive, instead of cursing and yelling at each other like Dutch people. They accept things the way they are, which is just one of the many benefits that come with Buddhism, if you’d ask me.
Buddhism, or I think it is more the Confusius-belief, is represented in the city very nicely. There is an amazing gate that goes to this temple where you will find swirly big incense circles that can burn for a month! Really amazing, really beautiful. The temple included a lot of mosaic, dragons, dogs and gorgeous flowers.
I do wonder how people are dealing with all these tourists in their holy places all the time, as it seems a bit distracting to me. Again, this is probably something they just see as a minor thing and their belief is obviously bigger and more important than being frustrated about huge white blobs coming into your temple, but still, it is quite impressive how open they are to letting people in.
The walk was really lovely, although it was pretty hot. It is winter here, but the more south we go, the more hot it gets. I was so sweaty and warm, I was glad to stop for lunch at this very nice place called Mango Room. They had sandwiches with egg, and a lot of Vietnamese dishes. Even though there was no one else there, we just sat there and had a lovely lunch.
Oh, I am totally forgetting to tell you about the market we went to during our walk! There was this big fish market, that thankfully also had a lot of vegetables because the dead fishies kind of scared me (I don’t eat fish and I used to have an aquarium because my mom is allergic to animal hair). It was an insane place, that market. There was a lot of chopping, a lot of bloody things, chickens, all kinds of animals from the water, and lots of people. I prefer taking pictures of the veggies and fruits, because of their beautiful colors.
The market was lovely, but we could not stay there for too long. We had to go to this theatre where people were doing some sort of old Vietnamese dance while their colleagues were playing very nice Vietnamese music. It was pretty cute and sometimes even funny (in a good way), so that was entertaining. It was too bad the bar guy took 15 minutes to make a simple cappuccino, otherwise we would have stayed for a drink. Seriously, 15 minutes for some coffee with milk foam!?
There is a lot of stuff to do in Hoi An, but sometimes you have to look for it. You can ride a water buffalo, rent bicycles, go to the beach, do a cooking course, et cetera. I really wanted to ride a water buffalo, but unfortunately we had no time as that would take a whole day and we were going to the tailor. We did go for a very long bike ride, that took about three hours. We toured the whole area which was absolutely great.
Cycling is something that all Dutch people can do, and something they love. We don’t use cars to go places, we use bikes! Okay, that is not entirely true, but whenever we think a location is ‘bicycle-ble’, we will definitely consider going for it. In Hoi An we did the second bike ride of this holiday and it was my favorite. There was not too much wind, people were less whiny about how unbelievably fast we were going (which was obviously utter bs, because we rode at a pretty normal pace). So, let’s try this ‘gallery’ thing:
Hmm, not sure if that really worked out. Anyway, the ride was just beautiful, good weather to make me sweat a lot less, gorgeous surroundings and a water buffalo or two! It was really lovely.
In the evening we went out to dinner at Tam Tam, but it was a bit of a let-down as we preffered Cargo Club, where we ate the night before. The town was amazing though, there were lanterns everywhere and it was very crowded with a lovely atmosphere. We enjoyed walking over a small souvenir market, getting some stuff for the people at home. It was a really full but a really fun day. I even forgot to mention that after the cycling we went swimming! Pretty active, so very sleepy now. Talk to you tomorrow!