Hoi An On My Mind

In Summer 2016, Vietnam by Laura0 Comments

We woke up at 5am to catch a flight to Hoi An. When we got to the airport we had a bit of a fiasco. We tried checking in through the electronic kiosks but for some reason our tickets weren’t showing up. We decided, well we had no choice, to go up to the desks and try to check in with a human. The issue was that the lines to get to a human weren’t really lines but more of just a cluster of people pushing each other. We eventually elbowed or way through only to get put in another kind behind the actual counter. I think some people might have thought we were standing around for fun because we constantly got cut in line by people who also wanted to check in. I have to say being with Tamir during these moments is just pure gold. He does not tolerate it and straight up stars the people down or just shouts, “no!”

When we finally get to speak to the woman checking us in we are already running a little late. We hadn’t budgeted time for being pushed and cut in line so it was a small but not urgent time crunch. She checks us in and then looks at our bags and says we need to check them. We hadn’t checked our bags on the way from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi and we really notdiddidn’t want to check them in that moment either. They charge extra fees for checking bags and we knew or bags could fit in the overhead compartment just fine. We go back and forth with her a bit but there is a language barrier so finally Tamir takes his backpack off and weighs it and she says in fact he does need to check it. Then she points at me and I take my bag off and weigh it. Then she looks at all three of us, David hadn’t weighed his bag yet, and let’s us take our bags with us on the flight. It was unclear if she actually wanted us to check or bags out if she just gave up at some point but in any case we were clear to go through security (another not line with people cutting in front of us).

When we arrived in Hoi An we did not have a place to stay but we had an idea of the area we wanted to be in. We had a cab driver take us there shed we walked around a bit looking for something. It was about 9am at this point and we were tired and hungry. We ended up stopping to grab breakfast and come up with a plan. We emailed a few places and found out there was room at a hostel that was recommended to us by another hostel we stayed in. We booked a postcard room with two double beds which was really nice. It cost $8/person/night and it was great to all be together in one room and have our own space. The price of a single bed in a shared dorm with eight beds and shared bathroom was about one dollar cheaper per person so we were happy with this set up.

The hostel had a bar and restaurant downstairs and a nice social vibe. I took the day to relax and chill out after all of our running around. The boys went to get suits made which is one of the main reasons for coming to Hoi An. It is also an awesome city but for travelers it is known as a place to get custom clothing. I went to lunch by myself and then they meet up with me and I quickly ran to dip in the ocean while they chilled on the sand. We then went and got massages and I got a pedicure. I think the massages were $6/hour and my pedicure was around $5.

We then went back to the hostel and rested before dinner. None of us had really slept the night before so we were feeling exhausted. The craziness of the trip was definitely catching up to us. We ended up just eating dinner at the restaurant in the hostel and heading to bed early.

The next day we woke up and ate breakfast in the hostel before heading out to the downtown area where the tailors are located. David and Tamir joke that they are on call for these women at the tailors but it really is no joke. They have to go back as many times as it takes to get the sizing of their suits right. Shosh and I wanted to see what sorts of clothing they make for women but inevitably decided it wasn’t worth it for us to buy anything. The clothes are nice and you can get anything you want made but the prices aren’t incredible and there wasn’t anything we desperately wanted.

The city of Hoi An is really lovely and I think we all weren’t sure what to expect. It reminds me a lot of Santa Barbara and for those who know me you know Santa Barbara holds a special place in my heart. It has a mission style feel to it in terms of the architecture with small one or two story buildings and matching Spanish style coloring. This is really similar to the architecture of Santa Barbara and I think why it stuck out to me. We are also near the beach. It is a short walk from our hostel. The people are friendly and the city has a relaxed sort of vibe. We loved it so much we decided to extend our stay here for a little bit.

Shosh and I walked around the outdoor market while the boys got their measurements retaken and additional alterations. We bought some small gifts for ourselves but also for friends and family. It was a really nice shopping experience and very cool to see the outdoor souvenir market. I got new sunglasses and a couple pairs of flowy shorts. Being in the market setting is so fascinating to me because I know the prices they are telling me are way too high but for me it is often the difference of one or two dollars. I don’t want to overpay but I also don’t particularly care about the money it is more about the principle. I don’t like the feeling that because I am a tourist I can be taken advantage of but at the same time I know that to be true. It is an interesting relationship of trying to understand what something is truly worth and what i am actually paying for it. At the end of the day I truly spent very little because things are so cheap but part of me questions where the balance is.

After the market we got massages (yes, again) and then headed back to the hostel to meet our chef for our Vietnamese cooking class! Stay tuned.

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