|Charming streets of Hoi An|
Due to a national holiday, I had a few days off from my teaching job at the beginning of October. So we decided to travel to Hoi An, Vietnam, to meet up with our friends Karen and Widi. Happily, they were headed there during a break from their teaching jobs in India. It had been three years since we last saw them in Chennai.
Dave and I flew from Hanoi into Danang, where at the airport he posed for this picture:
"Danang" is a song by the Radiators, a band he has followed for years. Here, his passion for music and travel collided. (As did his love of friends and community when he posted this picture on a fan website and received many fun responses.)
The Danang airport is small, so it was easy to connect with Karen and Widi when their plane landed. A car provided by our Airbnb was waiting to zip us down to Hoi An, an hour drive.
It's definitely set up for tourists. We were approached by more people trying to sell us things than anywhere else in Vietnam. However, they weren't terribly aggressive--and many had things worth buying. Talented seamstresses are everywhere in the town. It's a great place to buy custom clothes at good prices.
On our day spent exploring the town, we sat in a small, crowded theater for a sweet hour of music and dance.
Then we explored some historical sites. At one time, Hoi An was a port city filled with not only Vietnamese but Chinese and Japanese families, which influenced the architecture.
|Chinese assembly hall.|
It lives up to its name: not overly developed and not crowded. But with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and good food. Oh, and one of the best massages I've ever had (for only about $7). They were able to massage all four of us at one time, while an ocean breeze blew over our bodies.
|Dave and Widi getting their Tai Chi on at Hidden Beach.|
We took the trip back all in one day, which involved an exhausting mélange of taxis, flights, airport waiting and a confusing transfer. When we hit the Nanning airport, a Vietnamese-American woman at the taxi stand asked if we might be able to help her. The taxi driver didn't know where her hotel was--and she didn't know how to say it, as it was written in Chinese on a piece of paper. Dave had her get in our taxi and said perhaps a taxi driver at the university gate would know, since the university is close to downtown. His genius plan worked.
In the cab, we soon learned we all used to live in San Jose! And when she heard I'm a writing coach, she said she wants my help writing a book about her family's journey from Vietnam to America. Just my kind of gig.
That experience was like an exclamation point on the week of the divine rendezvous. How sweet it was to have a travel experience with friends, making Hoi An even more memorable.