Riding into Hoi An after two weeks in the Vietnamese hinterland was quite the shock. There were westerners everywhere! Having not seen one of those other than my team mates I found I was now staring at westerners. They really look quite different from Asian people, and for the first hour I couldn’t take my eyes off of them . There was also loads of western foods available — the first time I indulged since arriving in Vietnam, really. In one place, I ordered a brownie with vanilla ice cream, and found I couldn’t finish it. It was so rich and sweet compared to what my body had become accustomed to that I had to ask for help from the person sitting next to me.
Hoi An is quite touristy — Unesco added it to the world heritage centre list because it is “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.” (from the Unesco website). It’s simply gorgeous and a great place to sit and have a coffee and catch up on some reading. That’s exactly what I did.