The bus to Hoi An stopped at a small town with an entrance into a cave system in the Marble Mountains. We had just 45 minutes to take a peek.
This is the inside of the cave, looking up at a skylight
When the bus arrived in Hoi An, it stopped here at the Van Loi Hotel, which had just opened 2 weeks before. Most of the travelers already had reservations. Nadia and I were winging it and were the only ones that hopped out to investigate.
The hotel was fabulous. And deserted. We were glad we'd arrived unfettered by reservations.
The Lonely Planet Guidebook, which every backpacker is toting around, is a valuable resource, but it isn't the Bible. Follow your nose once in a while.
It was warm out; the other travelers were taken to their quaint hotels while Nadia and I changed into our swimsuits.
The rooftop restaurant, where we had our coffee and breakfast every morning and planned our day. The waitstaff were all trying hard, but they'd only had their jobs for 2 weeks and knew nothing about serving food. Being practically the only guests in the hotel, we usually had the services of 3 or 4 of them. The daily ordering of breakfast was a 15 minute game of pantomine, menu pointing, stammering Vietnamese on our part, and confused looks from the staff.
Sooner or later, though, we always got something to eat.
Hoi An is set on the Thu Bon River, just a few kilometers from the South China Sea.
A few hundred years ago it was a major port, but it fell into obscurity in the 20th century.
Thankfully, it was completely bypassed by the American War and many buildings remain as they have been for 200 years or more.
Buddhist temples were on every street. This one had a lovely inner courtyard.
Here Nadia sits near the altar and comtemplates the Four Noble Truths.
Looking the other way, the temple courtyard opens onto the quiet Hoi An street.
The open air market by the river was a beautiful place to shop and get a bowl of noodles.
Another good thing to eat was the corn from the street-corner corn-cooking ladies. They were there from lunch until dinner, all set up with their corn and charcoal fires. Tasty snack food.
Nadia on the bridge leading to our hotel.
Underneath the bridge was this family's river house and their big fishing net.
They also used this boat.
© 2004 Lee Fike
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