I left Quang Ngai and headed north on the train. It's about a 5 hour train trip thru the rice growing region (well, the whole country is a rice growing region) and got to DaNang mid-afternoon. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time in DaNang, so I only spent one night in a terrible little hotel then took a mini-bus the 30 kms south to Hoi An.

Hoi An is one of the oldest cities in Vietnam. Its location on a river near the South China Sea made it attractive to the old Chinese traders who built their homes there. Many of the houses in Hoi An are over 500 years old.

The area surrounding Hoi An was the scene of some of the bitterest fighting of the War, but unlike many of Vietnam's old cities it was not destroyed by shelling or air strikes. Seems that both sides respected the fact that Hoi An is a very special place, although that didn't deter the US from bombing some of the 1000 year old Cham temple sites right outside of town. In fact, Hoi An was added to the list of World Heritage Sites last year.

It's a little old city with narrow streets and friendly people and great food. I loved it!
It's also near the beach. :)


  My one night in DaNang was not a total loss. Accross the street from my hotel was the Lonely Planet Cafe, and these young ladies were the waitresses. They all spoke English really well, especially the girl on the right in this picture, Beech. A lot of the US Army MIA teams which are in VN looking for the remains of American servicemen lost and missing in the War hang out at this little restaurant/bar, and the gals learned to speak American English from them. Beech could cuss like a sailor. What a gal!


      The street where I lived. During my time here I made a point of buying something from just about every shop on this street. As a result, in the morning when I walked the one block to my breakfast restaurant I had at least 20 different shopkeepers come out and wish me a good morning. The friendliness of the people was awesome!    
    My hotel in Hoi Ann      
    The woman in the conical hat sold fruits and different meats to the restaurants on my street. She was out there every single day, hauling her goods in thached baskets hung over a bamboo pole. Those baskets must have weighed 30 pounds.  
  I was in Vietnam during Tet, the VN Lunar New Year. The VNese are big into ancestor worship, and during Tet a feast is laid out for the spirits of the long departed. That's a roasted pig's head in the middle. Yummy!        
      Mrs. Friendly, my tailor. Handmade clothes are big business in Hoi An, and she made me a couple pairs of pants and a shirt.    
    Check out the narrow streets and the old houses in this typical street scene in Hoi An.    
Gotta eat somewhere. My breakfast nook, a one minute walk from my hotel.
No Egg McMuffins here. An omlette, coffee, fresh fruit w/ yogurt, and a nice baggette for about $1. The picture above is the view from my regular table.

Bonsai is big with the Vietnamese. Most houses have at least a little bonsai garden, and that includes the ones in pots.

      I met these two Dutch girls down in Nha Trang, then ran into them again in Hoi An outside my breakfast restaurant. Here they are modeling their $1 raincoats.    
    Hoi An is full of very old Buddhist pagodas. Here are a couple nice ones.    
    Downtown Hoi An and riverfront, taken from the bridge over the river    
      The beautiful Hoi An market. No food shortage here.    
    These two women poked their heads into the stall where I was buying coffee for a closer look at the tall foreigner.      
      I bought coffee from this woman and she let me take her picture. Lovely.    

Nothing like having a candlelit dinner every night. On the right is one of about 20 restaurants on the riverfront.

A picture of my waitress on the left.



    The views of the Hoi An River, on the road to the beach    
      Cua Dai Beach is about 15 minutes east of Hoi An.    

How many times has this happened to you? As soon as you get good and comfortable on your beach towel an elephant comes along and kicks sand on you. This is the resident pachyderm of the luxury resort at Cua Dai Beach, used to haul tourists up and down the beach. For a price.

    I bought a pineapple on the beach from this young lady every day, and I don't even really like pineapple all that much. She's a budding businesswoman who drags her pineapples up and down the beach all day long to make about $3. How could I *not* buy something from her?      
      Well it's a small world afterall. I met the German girl German girls the left in this picture three years ago when we were both in Thailand, then ran into her and her friend in Hoi An. We spent the afternoon at the beach sunning and eating.    

      Right next to my hotel there was a little internet shack where for about $1/hour I could communicate with the outside world. Here's my ISP, Mr. Internet in the white shirt on the left, standing in the doorway with one of his buddies.    
    A man after my own heart, Mr. Internet hisself. As you can see he's all ready to set the world aflame. Cell phone, travel agency, and a globe geographically correct for Oregon. In fact, Phong has got a nice little setup, computer-wise. He has 5 computers and is always busy. Nice guy, and a good businessman. We talked a lot and became friends.      
    Not only does Mr Internet have fast computers, but you get tea while you surf. Here's one of Mr. Internets' buddies and an employee, a VNese who speaks English very well...and with a British accent to boot.      
      Hmmmm who is this handsome foreigner in Mr. Internet's shop? Why, it's me in my natural environment. :)    


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