Thursday, March 10, 2011

City Snapshot: Hoi An

After Hue, we traveled through Đà Nẵng to Hội An by van. Hội An is an old town, and it is quaint and charming to the point of feeling contrived. It seems like the public face of small towns in Vietnam, where all the women weaáo dàis and everyone puts on a happy face for tourists, which are everywhere in town. I didn't like that it felt like an act.

But it's hard not to fall for the ivy covered buildings, the wooden boats, the glow of the paper lanterns in the evening. Contrived or not, it's a beautiful place. Much to my delight, pedestrians dominate the streets. There are motorbikes and even a few cars, but they are far fewer than in any other city we visited. It made our time in Hội An feel slower and more relaxed, and allowed us to drop our guard a bit while walking to better take in our surroundings. Hội An has a nearby beach, which Matt and I did not visit, but we did make use of one of the many cooking classes offered around town, which included a market tour and several incredible dishes that we got to make and eat.

We also found time to drink fresh beer, try the famed cao lầu noodles and enjoy a walk in a less touristed area with riverside homes, roaming chickens, and children that chirped hellos to us as we passed.

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