Saturday, August 05, 2006
Hoi An. I didn’t even know it existed.
Situated near Da Nang, it is a beautiful place similar to the artsy towns that dot both coasts in the US. From what I was told it was largely untouched by the war, which is amazing if true given its proximity to Da Nang.
As an aside, I was originally supposed to stay in Da Nang and in fact checked into a hotel there. However after discovering Hoi An, I checked myself out telling the desk clerk that I would meet my guide the next morning in the lobby, and moved to a small hotel in Hoi An. With that done I began to explore returning to my hotel to shower and change before dinner.
Much to my surprise there was my very worried looking guide along with three police all of whom immediately wanted to know why I had moved. As it turns out, my passport had been registered with the police (standard policy for westerners) at the previous hotel with an indication that I would be staying the night. When I abruptly changed my itinerary, they went looking for Phuc and then as a group, for me. Changing plans like that without the authorities knowing in advance is frowned upon.
These pictures show only a portion of the beauty. Narrow alleys leading to unexpected surprises such as this café where I sat outside enjoying a delicious lunch of fish, rice with a glass of wine (from where I have no idea. All the better on this trip of discovery.) Watching the sun go down across the Bon River with the fishing fleet at anchor.
Da Nang and definitely Hoi An were well worth the trip to the middle county but my visit there was about getting to Quang Tri Province. This was where I spent most of my time during the war and where I would find whatever information was available regarding Dolly (see "Dolly" post).
These pictures show some of the trip to Dong Ha including the Hoi Van Pass and Lang Co Beach, unfortunately, no doubt, headed towards Maui style development at some point in the future.