A golden sunrise illuminated the Old Quarter’s ancient dwellings draped in fuchsia bougainvilleas. It also lit the Thu Bon River, where the small fishing boats had just pulled up to shore. It was 5:30 a.m. as I approached the central marketplace, where I experienced the tastes, sounds, and energy—the real life of the local people. Vietnam’s gem-city of Hoi An was just awakening.
Greeting the Day
Women in conical straw hats with bright smiles balanced long poles over their shoulders. Their poles were heavy with hanging baskets stuffed with vegetables, fish, and even live geese, as they scurried along the dirt pathways. The endless array of baskets filled with herbs covered the ground in a blanket of greenery, while pungent fish and spice aromas permeated the air.