It was raining when we arrived, that kind of rain that you only get in the tropics, where it pelts down in driving waves of saturation, you’re happy if you can get undercover, any cover without getting soaked to the bone. The constant cloud cover and intermittent rain has settled a mottle hue across the town, the yellow houses a darker marigold colour rather than the vibrant sunflower yellow that is etched in my memory.
The idle river is murky brown, a light milky coffee colour. It’s also quite full due to the volume of rain. There are more tourist boats than I remember offering cruises down the river, and a few rougher boats are paddled around by enterprising locals, their conical hats completing their look. A semi constant stream of cyclos bumble along the waterfront the single seat passengers showing varied degrees of interest.
The entry ticket to the UNESCO part of the old town isn’t something I need on this visit, the splendid temples, historic family homes and crafts institutes it introduces and allows entry to don’t need to be revisited. I’d rather walk around the pedestrianised streets, admiring the many hanging lanterns and other cool stuff I see all over the town.
As dusk falls and the swifts swoop and dart in the failing light, the hanging lanterns spring to live, bathing the atmospheric streets with pleasant hues. A serene feeling descends on the town, the warm brisk wind swaying the lanterns, blurring my attempts to capture the scene. The darkening clouds above the flickering lights seem to be holding their bounty… for now.
The street food in the old part of Hoi An seems to be geared towards the western palate more, with a proliferation of doughnuts and banana fritters. The ladies selling the pork skewers, so popular in Hanoi seem to be very quiet here.
A little further afield, in the more residential parts of town the street side dining returns to normal, with many more eateries of a rustic nature. In the interest of disclosure I have to be a bit more cautious, my stomach is not too happy with me at the minute