Oct 04, 2005
. People had asked me what I planned to do in Hoi An for three whole days, and now I was beginning to wonder if that would even be enough. It's not very often that you find love at first sight, especially when the love affair is with a place. The next few days were spent just wandering around and absorbing the scene, relaxing at the cafes, catching up on sleep, and shopping. Not only is Hoi An architecturally beautiful, its shops hold the most beautiful collection of crafts I have ever seen. Everywhere I walked I saw a scarf or a ceramic bowl or a purse or a lantern that I knew that I needed. Afterall, when's the next time I would be back here, right? Right?! Well, fortunately I had some good sense and didn't blow my entire stash of money of crafts. However, I did partake in the guiltiest pleasure of all the things Hoi An has to offer for the consumer: custom made clothes. Many people come here just to get quality suits or dresses made at good prices to send back home. I quickly became one of the number one customers of the Nhi Trung Cloth Shop, as well as the owner's sister who had a shoe shop down the street that made some great sandals. I won't tell how much I got or how much I spent or how I justified it all to myself, but I will tell you that I had a blast and it was worth every penny. And now I'll make up the money spent by fasting my entire time in Laos! Easy cheesy! Well, at least I promise not to spend anymore on clothes, which should be easy as tonight is my last night here in Hoi An. And though I'm sad to leave such a quaint paradise, I've had an absolutely amazing time... from which my suddenly lighter wallet needs time to recooperate. Besides, Laos calls me...
Hoi An is a lovely place. Lovely. It's the only word that truly captures the magic, beauty, and quaintness of this little city town. As I walked the cobbled streets, surrounded by old French architecture adorned with paper lanterns and silk scarves for sale I just felt a sense of peace. I managed to wander down a street not only blocked off from the incessant racket of motorbikes, but also empty of all tourists. I felt like I had been transported back in time to when everyone moved at a much slower pace by bicycle and by foot. The smells of Cau Lao, a local noodle dish, and the fabulous Vietnamese coffee wafting out of the picturesque cafes reminded me that I hadn't had anything to eat since I had left Nha Trang. How long ago and far away that place seemed as settled myself seated at a table in a balcany covered with plants overlooking the river and nearby foot bridge. Taking out my latest book (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime) and sipping my white coffee with sweet milk, I knew I had found heaven