The Streets of Hoi An

If you can ignore the ever-present danger of being hit by a motorbike, wandering the streets of Hoi An can be quite pleasant. The buildings are colorful …

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… some of the windows are striking …

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… there are flowers everywhere …

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… and even the alleyways can be charming:

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Even the tourist streets — supposedly reserved for pedestrians — have a certain appeal if you can look past the throngs of tourists:

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And you can walk along the river and other waterways if the town starts to feel too crowded…

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… though you may spend more time than you might like checking the streets for oncoming traffic.

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While Vietnam has modernized in many ways, you can still find signs of a more ancient time as you walk around. I found noodles (or what I assume to be noodles) drying right out on the sidewalks …

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… and someone doing laundry in their front courtyard the old fashioned way:

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While we did not spend much time visiting the historical sights, I did pay one final visit to Hoi An’s famous 17th-century Japanese bridge:

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This bridge has been changed, added to, and restored by both Chinese and Vietnamese groups over the years, making it an interesting conglomeration of styles. It is guarded by a pair of dog gods at one end …

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… a pair of monkey gods at the other end …

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… and “God Bac De Tran Vo Emperor of the North” (according to the sign) in the middle:

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The signage goes on to explain that this bridge and temple have become “famous for having supernatural powers.” I cannot speak to those powers, but I did find it an interesting site …

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… as did, apparently, the hundreds of tourists around me.

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But if you ask my dad, the most remarkable thing about Hoi An has nothing to do with the architecture (or the food, or the cheap clothes, or even the incessant motorbike noise) — it’s how incredibly friendly the people are. They just seem genuinely nice — you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re hugged goodbye when you leave a restaurant (and no, there is no tipping). We met and chatted with some great people, including Nancy at our hotel …

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… and Happy, Dad’s and Prescott’s tailor at Nhi Tru’ng Cloth Shop:

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