Day 019 – Hoi An: French Architecture quenches the thirst for beauty

2008/09/22 § Leave a comment


Taking the bus overnight from Nha Trang to Hoi An [1] was a total nightmare. Sure the bus was a bit cheaper than the train (200000 Dong, ca. 13$ versus 20$ for the almost 600 km) and it was nice to meet some other backpackers for a change but the road was terribly bumpy. Additionally our driver´s kamikaze style of beating down the road was completely incompatible with sleep. In the end I must have dropped simply unconscious from exhaustion. When Mc Cain talks about being torture by the Vietcong I believe I have gotten a glimpse of it last night.

A funny experience was that some people had reserved seats while others did not have seat numbers. Sure enough, I had none and I was with a bunch of others who had no numbers. We were told to take any seat we wanted. Of the 30 or so seats most were occupied when a girl came to me and demanded my seat. She could have taken one of five or six remaining seats but she wanted mine because that was what it said on the paper. I went to the driver to resolve the issue and suddenly it hit me: “ you are German right?”, I asked her. And sure enough she was. That explained why of 30 people no one but her had any problem being flexible.

Hoi An is a lovely place by the way. It looks really cute and charming and has some more tranquility than most place I have been to so far. The nicely painted and decorated houses and little allays give it a “turn of the century” touch. And once more it has been proven true that in order to get something working out (in this case architecture) it takes a European, even if it only is a Frenchman. 😉

But seriously, when it comes to architecture the Vietnamese have not the hint of an idea what is going on. They built in a practical manor to the point where it becomes actually painful for the eyes. Their pragmatism goes so far that even the ridiculously clichéd Chinese lanterns, twinkling lights and other China-restaurant-like decorations stick out pleasantly for the eyes. Not so in Hoi An; here, especially around the river, you feel like in South-East-Asia, just even a bit better than usually. 😉

So far I have managed to forget one SD card on a table in a Restaurant (of course it was gone 20 minutes later), leave my new sunglasses behind on a bus and almost left my lonely planet somewhere numerous times, and only did not because no one seemed to want it and hence I was reminded by others. But yesterday I topped it all by leaving my hygiene bag, complete with electronic tooth brush (who brings that on a RTW trip? I know) behind. Good on me… I hope that the hotel staff where I left it keeps their word and put it on the bus tonight so I have it in the morning tomorrow. Reminds me of that song of Basement Jaxxx: “Where`s your head at…” 🙂 [2]


1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoi_An
2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4hFwJm41h4

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