Monday, February 2, 2015

Hoi An, Vietnam

Back in July of last year, we went to central Vietnam as a sort of birthday present to me (B and I don't give each other presents: the best kind of gift is an experience, especially when it involves travel). B and I spent a month in Vietnam many years ago, and it was a pretty disastrous trip, including a Japanese encephalitis scare, getting chased by a knife-wielding maniac, B getting punched at the train station, and an attempted pickpocketing with feet. But many people I've spoken to loved Vietnam, and I wanted to give it another shot. I am so glad that I did.

We started out in Hoi An, which is a UNESCO-listed riverside town of great charm. It was a major trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, and its decline in the late 19th century meant that many of the buildings and streetscape have remained mostly unchanged since then. There's not a lot of major sites, but we had a wonderful and relaxing time strolling through the streets, visiting the temples and other architecture, and boating on the river (we enjoyed this so much we did it two days in a row: one of these times R got to steer the boat, which she took very seriously).
R at one of the temples built by overseas Chinese immigrants
Sadly on our third day there I lost my camera along with all the pictures I had taken (including the ones of R steering, such a pity). The ones in this post were therefore taken with my cell phone (which has a terrible, very slow camera) and don't really do Hoi An justice. It is more charming than reflected here!
R bowing at the temple shrine: she loves Chinese temples and always insists on visiting them. I think she likes all the color and vibrancy.
R with one of her adoring fans: everyone always wants to pose with her! This woman was a Vietnamese tourist.
Me at the single most famous sight, the Japanese bridge (dating from the 18th century)
R and I on the river, pirate Izzy (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) accompanying us
R enjoying the water
What our boat and boatlady (they are all women) looked like

We spent three days in the town of Hoi An and two days just outside of town at a beach resort. The distance between the ocean and the town is a short car ride (maybe 15 minutes) or a scenic boat ride (maybe 90 minutes). The beach was pretty great and relaxing: here are my sandy toes as I luxuriate reading a book (R is digging in the sand in the distance with B).

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