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.
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.
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.
Around sunset that evening I broke out the tripod and tried to capture a sense of the Hoi An old town.
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?