Old Chinese and French houses

Trip Start Feb 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, June 5, 2006

In this entry:

Eva and I take in the old world charms of Hoi An, a town with very old traditional Chinese houses (from the wealthy Chinese merchants who traded with Vietnam and eventually built houses here) which exist side-by-side with French colonial architecture. Two ages and two cultures come together... clash! (but no longer)

We had a unique experience renting a motorbike here. We passed a hotel advertising motorbike rentals. We met the hotel clerk and enquired about their rate. The clerk leaves the front desk and asks us to come outside with her. We think she's showing us her bike. Instead, she takes us next door, to the neighbor's house. It's a family in the middle of dinner. We apologize for interrupting them but the papa (who is not wearing a shirt) is very excited to see us and shakes my hand and brings us out to the front yard. He goes into the back and wheels out a beautiful, brand new motorcycle. The pajama-clad mama has come out front to see us, and her little kid starts playing with Eva. We ask the papa "How much?" in Vietnamese.

"$3.00, pick up tomorrow morning and return at the end of the day," the hotel clerk translates for us.

"Can we pay $4.00 and take it now?" I ask. He agreed.

We hand the guy $4.00 and offer a copy of our passport to him for some kind of security, but he shook his head and smiled. "Just bring it back." Amazing.

The next day we took a side trip to the city of Danang where we eat some very bad pizza whose photos we do not share with you for fear of offending. Lastly we visit the ancient Champa ruins of My Son-- sort of the poor man's Vietnamese Angkor Wat, in a way. (Well, actually it's nothing like that, but it's late and I'm in need of a metaphor)

Enjoy the photos.

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