We're trying desperately to catch up on our posts--so the next few will be predominately photos. Hope you don't mind. Here are a bunch of pictures from the tourist trap of Hoi An. It was beautiful (probably why it is such a tourist trap). Hoi An is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is supposed to be pretty close to what ancient Southeast Asian port cities would have looked like long ago. Minus the gaggles of white folks and merchants selling souvenirs, I suppose. Without further ado, the pictures:
Street vendors sold delicious morsels around every corner.
The iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.
Okay, I'm not sure that you can qualify this as culture shock, but I'm not sure what else to really call it: Vietnamese actually wear the conical hats (think the term is strange? There is a whole wiki article on it).
I know, right?
The city was littered with beautiful pagodas that we had fun exploring.
We have seen tons of song birds all throughout Vietnam. Pagodas will frequently have a few hanging about in ornate (or not) cages.
Wild dogs, anyone? (There is a strong possibility that this dog is actually not wild.)
Sophie exploring a pagoda.
Urban decay in an ancient city.
After wandering about the city alone for a while, Ashley, Sophie, and I bumped into some friends from our program. They were in some boring museum, so we let them tell us all about it from the second story balcony.
Still not sure why Ash wanted us to include this picture.
In other news, I was having some indigestion whilst walking around Hoi An. Ashley had the foresight to pack a pocket sized mint-flavored Tums in the backpack. Lifesaver. I would definitely recommend bringing Tums when traveling to SE Asia. Just saying. (The reason I'm ranting about this here is because I wish my stomach had been as peaceful as this statue.)
Hoi An had tons of shops selling this lanterns. I just wonder how tourists get them home.
Fruit. Lots of fruit.
As you can see, we bought some fruit. When we were looking at the pineapple, we were joking about how sad it was that we wouldn't be able to get any because we had no way to chop it up. The woman at the fruit stand must have understood us, because she conjured up a blunt looking knife and began to quickly carve the pineapple for us. Sophie was in heaven.
Sometimes, I'm taken back to the many Russian history and Soviet literature courses I've taken in college when the waving red flags. That's all.
We decided to take a boat ride after being heckled by numerous tour guides. We caved--but sunset was the perfect time to go.
Hoi An was just as pretty at night as it was during the day. But like everywhere else we've been in Vietnam, it gets crazy busy at night. The sun goes down and the people come out. It probably has something to do with the insane heat that dominates the day. That and the Vietnamese obsession with avoiding getting tan at all costs (even down to full on coats in 100+ weather during the day). I guess skin cancer isn't that big of a deal here?
Sophie enjoyed looking at all the lanterns from the Enterprise.
But she was one tired baby by the time we got back to The Finger Hotel in Da Nang. Not sure why we stayed at 'The Finger', but we can definitely say that we have slept in one of the world's largest fingers... I guess.