Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cycling in Hoian - the charming ancient town

By Anner
cycling Hoian 1
Hoian
Today, after a lengthy breakfast at the resort, we decided to take a cycling Hoian trip around the town.  We set off along the river, stopping periodically for pictures or shopping.

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Maddie and Akaya on bikes
At this point, we had gone five minutes, and in 88 degree heat with 89% humidity, we were all drenched in sweat. So we stopped at one of the many little stores, and all bought conical hats. I went with a simple design, though they did have ones that said, stitched in Vietnamese, “Hoi An- I’m a tourist.”

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Buying tourist-y conicals hats
Along the way, we passed many rice fields, bridges, and decorated streets. We stopped for sugar cane juice, pressed fresh, and sat down while various people came over and tried to sell us things. This time, though, they actually succeeded, selling cards with pop-out pictures of things like boats, flowers, and characters. 

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Rice paddy fields
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Dad looking out
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Fish nets
After some time we stopped for lunch right on the river, and I learned all about Vietnamese customs. First off, if someone invites you somewhere, it’s considered very important. It creates a sense of community and friendship, and is not something you can be careless about. Also, it is customary for the youngest woman to wipe off all the chopsticks for each guest at the table, and for the oldest woman to look over the bill at the end of the meal. Also, splitting the check is seen as very rude, similar to buying a gift for someone and then asking them to pay for part of it.

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Lunch on the river
As for the meal itself, we all trusted Dad to pick out some good dishes. None of us are really well-versed in either Vietnamese or finding out which menu items actually translate into good food. We ended up with grilled squid, lemongrass chicken, rice, garlic spinach, and probably some other seafood items that I’m forgetting. Everything was, of course, family style, a custom that I always am familiar with.

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Lanterns
After lunch, we headed back to the resort, ready to embark on our next three tasks before going out again for our Hoian travel: chilling, relaxing, and resting (my dads own words, surprise surprise).

cycling Hoian 9
Beautiful views

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