Hoi An

Trip Start Jan 18, 2006
Trip End Dec 17, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I am in the town of Hoi An. Hoi An is a pleasant change of pace with its historic 17th century old town, good food and less hassle relative to the rest of Vietnam. Positioned only 2km from the sea Hoi An has been an important stop on the trade routes in this part of the world for many years. In the old town most of the buildings were built as storehouses for goods along with living quarters for the traders who would often spend a few months in Hoi An waiting for the trade winds to carry them home.
Hoi An is famous for its tailors. Since I was in Hong Kong last year and bought a number of shirts, pants and suits I was not too pressed to buy a lot of clothes in Hoi An. In fact I didn't need to buy anything in Hoi An but nonetheless walked away with a few shirts, a pair of jeans and a sport coat. Since picking out the fabrics and having our measurements taken most of our time has been spent being fitted and refitted in order to make sure the clothes fit properly. Pau and I have been staying in a 190 year old Chinese built house in the center of the old town. Its very beautiful and a hive of activity as the family who owns it still manufactures fishing nets in the courtyard which are then sold to passing fisherman. That said we are moving to a hotel with a/c since the 90+ degree heat makes for very warm nights and less than ideal sleeping. In an effort to combat the daytime heat Pau and I went to the beach which stretches a good 30 km north to Danang and nearby China Beach. While its nice to cool off in the ocean the beach and sea are nothing special and a far cry from the beaches I visited in Thailand. On the way back from the beach Pau and I ran into Duncan and Al the two Scots I had been traveling with since northern Thailand. We went our separate ways in Hanoi but it now appears that we will once again be traveling together. Overall I am still finding Vietnam to be less enjoyable than the other countries I have visited. Much like India I find that I am constantly 'on point', fending off the touts, counting my change, trying not to be swindled. Its basically a constant battle and not a pleasant one at that. One of the most annoying things is how no business seems to have the correct change when you purchase something. I am CONSTANTY being shortchanged 2,000 dong because they don't have the right change. While I realize that 2,000 dong is less than $0.20 always being shortchanged starts to wear on you after not too long.
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