Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed our unstructured time in HoiAn. Our Road Scholar trip was action packed, with lots of sightseeing, cultural and educational experiences, starting early in the morning till early evening, so we were ready for some “down time”.
It was nice to linger over breakfast, which we did every morning, for about two hours, chatting with another American couple, enjoying the hotel gardens and the wonderful warm weather. And what breakfasts they were…just about everything imaginable…Asian style food (more like what we would eat for dinner), crepes, omelettes, croissants, and the juiciest, freshest fruits I have ever tasted. I think I have a mango addiction.
HoiAn is a delightful city, with the central section full of little shops, restaurants and cafes. It was closed off to motorbikes and cars, so it is a pleasure walking there. Mike and I did some of the usual tourist things, but mainly we walked around, ate and drank. Good thing everything I brought with me had an elastic waistband!
I couldn’t resist shopping for my three “shared” grandchildren–there were such cute purses and backpacks. I also succumbed to one of HoiAn’s many tailor shops. I think I would have fared better if I had had my fashion consultants with me, but hey, it was an experience and entertainment. (Isn’t that what the gamblers say after being in Atlantic City?). There will be a fashion show when I get home–you all can be the judges as to whether I am “in or owwwwwttt”.
The temple was packed the day we visited, with the locals stopping by to purchase long red coils of incense that will slowly burn for several months. The yellow tags hanging from the incense have the family members’ names printed on them. I said a special prayer in front of this painting, asking the Sea Goddess to always keep Steve and Andrew safe.
We took a day trip out to the Cham sanctuary, My Son. A significant portion of the sanctuary was destroyed by bombing. I climbed into one of the craters to give an idea of the depth of the hole, but that photo is on Mike’s camera.
The area was beautiful, and so peaceful.
Our guide was a photo enthusiast, who enjoyed using our cameras to take photos of us.
At night, the bridges and streets are all lit up, and young children sell candles that you float on the river. If you buy one, “your family be very happy”. (So, family, are you? You better be, cuz I bought one! That photo is also on Mike’s camera, but here’s a daytime shot of one of the bridges.)
It’s about time for a few questions, don’t you think?
1. Which of the seven new natural wonders of the world did we visit on this trip?
2. Early in the morning, in Luang Prabang, what can you watch the monks doing?
3. The best way to tour Hanoi’s old quarter is
A. By watching a travel video
B. By bus
C. On a cyclo
D. On foot
4. In which country is the currency known as a dong?
5. Who do you think PERMANENTLY lost an object?
A. Mike lost his hat
B. Shelley lost her glasses?
6. Why did the GI’s call the beach at DaNang “China Beach”?