Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Hoi An and the throngs....
So. You know when you say you are going to Vietnam, people think kinda that's a bit off the track? Well, they are so totally wrong. I am here in Hoi An, the touristy touristy town that it is. This place is swamped. Okay, it's kinda on an inlet, but the tourists are everywhere! Okay, to my shame I am a tourist. I take photos and see the sights. And in fairness, it's a nice little plce with cute streets.
Vietnam is a curious entity for sure. There are a lot of tourists here, there are a lot of hotels, restaurants and bars. Far too many still for the tourists. They are competing big time with each other for a few thousand dong (the local currency). Okay, the hotel numbers aren't so bad, many are booked out here and there, but the restaurants - I don't know how they survive.
Walking around the old town of Hoi An - wait no, I rented a ricketey old bike which was great - so riding around the old town I had to screech to a halt regularly to avoid ploughing into groups of French tourists numbering 25-30 who were taking up the entire road from left to right. What can I say? There are a limited number of sights here from historical homes to 'Assembly Halls' (looking curiously like temples/pagodas) so it's hard to escape.
This morning I went to My Son, a Unesco listed site dating back to the Eighth Century. Full of tourists (including me I am not hiding). Well, it is Angkor's poor poor cousin. Who was really poor, and then got bombed by Americans. The best of it is the third picture I have included today. Still, something to see hey. And MUCH cheaper than Angkor.
Tomorrow I start my fifteen hour journey by bus to Hanoi. I have around a week left in Vietnam and then will be mosying on over to Laos. So for now....
River at Hoi An, opposite side featuring fishing boats
Dragon at the Cantonese Assembly Hall, Hoi An.
The best presevered temple at My Son, 25km from Hoi An. And some throngs.