Hoi An, Vietnam

After 11 hours on the road, the night bus from Nha Trang pulled into Hoi An and spit us out at the city’s Sinh Café office.  Not even 7am yet but the sharks were already circling.  “You have hotel?”  “You want motorbike?”  “Where you stay?”  In my sleep-deprived state I struggled through what is already becoming a normal routine – decline every offer, orient myself on a map, pick a recommended hotel, navigate myself there – but I eventually found a room at a decent place.  I had to wait until 11am to check in so I wandered around the city pestering people to pose for photos.

 

Hoi An Street Portrait – Grandmother in Glasses
 
Hoi An Street Portrait – Worried Woman
 
Hoi An Street Portrait – Father
 
Hoi An Street Portrait – Smiling Woman
 
Hoi An Street Portrait – Mother
 
Hoi An Street Portrait – Grandmother
 
Hoi An Alley
 
Even someone with taste in food as unsophisticated as mine is able to recognize that Hoi An’s restaurants are special.  For dinner I tried two of the local specialties:  White Rose (shrimp in rice paper, steamed) and Cuo Lao (flat noodles and pork slices in broth with croutons, bean sprouts and greens).  Both really good.

Tuesday morning I hit the street for pre-dawn photos but once again there wasn’t much happening.  I walked through the central market area and crossed the Cam Nam Bridge so I could catch the sun rising over the Thu Bon River, but the clouds didn’t offer much that morning.

 

Hoi An Sunrise
 
Hoi An Boat Taxi
 
A little later I left for a tour of My Son, the most extensive Cham empire ruins in Vietnam.  They were interesting, but the Ankgor complex in Cambodia makes My Son look like an ancient outhouse.  A very small outhouse.  The best photo opportunity turned out to be when some performers conducted a traditional Apsara dance in an open-air theater near the ruins.

 

My Son Ruins
 
Apsara Dance at My Son
 
Around sunset that evening I broke out the tripod and tried to capture a sense of the Hoi An old town.

 

Nguyen Phuc Chu Street Blue Hour
 
An Hoi Footbridge at Sunset
 
Hoi An Sunset
 
Hoi An at Night
 
Hoi An Lamp Stores
 
One of the TV channels in my Hoi An hotel room played Victoria’s Secret fashion shows 24 hours a day.  Communism just isn’t what it used to be…  Shouldn’t people be lining up to buy shoes or cabbage or something?

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