While I walk through the streets of Hoi An, in my just bought ‘backpacker-trousers’, I feel the heat of the sun burning on my head. It is hot. It is the first hot day I’ve had since I am in Vietnam – as at this point it is still Winter in the north of Vietnam.
Here it’s definitely Summer. I adore it, enjoy the dose of Summer before leaving back home again, where the cold Christmas days are waiting for me.
Even though it’s my third day in Hoi An I haven’t actually seen the village yet.
My last day. I’ve already packed up my bags. I’ve already checked out, and I’ve already said goodbye to most of my ‘new friends’, who had to catch their flights already.
It’s a weird last day to have. I get caught up by a lot of different emotions. Sad because I had to say goodbye to 6 people whom I spent the last 8 days with. Happy-sad for the experiences I made, but semi-depressed that I have to say goodbye to Vietnam for now.
I am thankful for the last couple of days. Thankful for one of the craziest adventures I’ve had in my life.
For as long as I can I walk through Hoi An – I only have a couple of hours to spare. Time is ticking, and the taxi has been called: I need to get back to the airport soon. I am desperate to soak up the city and to see as much as I possibly can in the short amount of time that I have. I’m ready to explore the little streets, to grab a sandwich in that shop everyone recommended to me, and I am ready to see the river and the little souvenirshops.
Immediately I notice how quiet Hoi An is compared to Hanoi – the first big city of Vietnam I got introduced to. There are only a couple of scooters passing me left and right (definitely the opposite of Hanoi), and while I am definitely not the only tourist walking around to explore Hoi An I don’t hear anyone talk.
It’s quiet. Unlike any other experience I’ve had in this country before.
In front of the little shops that decorate the streets I spot their owners, sitting in the shade. They’re waiting for customers to enter their shops. Getting something tailor made maybe. They watch me pass by in silence, I greet them, saying hello in Vietnamese. A smile. For a moment I break the silence.
Most people I come across are tourists. Not a big shocker, since Hoi An is one of the most touristic places of Vietnam (And how can it not be? Being an UNESCO world heritage site.), but it’s still weird, to see so many tourists compared to locals.
Hoi An is an old colonial French town. Which you can definitely see when walking through the streets. The houses are colorfully painted in different shades of yellow and blue. The porches as well as the smaller details of the houses are all made of a dark kind of wood.
I turn left and right for a couple of times and stumble upon a market hall. Locals are selling their greenest vegetables, kilos of meat and fresh fish. It seems vibrant, seeing all the colors. I always love a good market hall.
Across the street I find a dozen of souvenir shops from where the shop owners keep waving at me. Friendly asking me whether or not I would like to have something tailor-made.
Somehow I didn’t cave. Even though I was convinced I would return home with a jumpsuit or two for Christmas, but in stead I returned home with loads of memories.
While strolling through the streets of Hoi An I remind myself of the fact that I haven’t got a map with me. I also remind myself of the fact that someone of the hostel warned me of how quickly you can get lost in Hoi An – ‘Streets make no sense. Be careful you.’. I also remind myself of the fact that I need to go to the airport within one hour. Slowly I return back to the hostel.
Thanks Hoi An. For this beautiful, small experience.