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A trip to Hoi An, and China Beach, Vietnam

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hoi An was about an hour drive from Da Nang. The buildings and homes along the road to Hoi An were the same familiar ones that have dotted the Vietnamese landscapes everywhere. In Vietnam, there is a width restoration of 5 to 7 meters and a length restriction of about 20 meters for all homes.

China Beach Area

Because of this restriction, is is common to see three story, narrow houses. Most of the time you will see either a vacant lot on both sides or typical tin roof and concrete houses surrounding these.

China Beach Area

It is rare to see a newer house, but they are here and there as you move around. In Vietnam, there is no Social Security for retired people. Because of this, is it customary for families to share one home for many years, as it is the responsibility of the kids to take care of the parents.

Hoi An Woman

In addition, it is normal for the married male children to move their wives into the family home where they will also raise children. Often times a family will have a small shop and then as they make money over time, they add another story to their home where they will live.

On the Road Between Hoi An and China Beach, Vietnam

There is very little religion in most of Vietnam (so I am told). You will see buddhist temples and statues, but they say as much of 80% of Vietnam has no specific religious beliefs and may visit a buddhist temple on religious holidays rather than continuously practice. Vietnamese are superstitious people and often will consult fortune tellers for a variety of things, including their weddings. Of course, if you ask someone else, they will tell you something completely different, so it just depends on which local you want to believe.

Hoi An Paper Lantern Shop

Arts and crafts in Vietnam are common. Many people like to work with their hands and in addition to a variety of beautiful silk products, there are carvings and colorful lanterns that are common. The Vietnamese are also very talented artists when it comes to painting and the use of color. I was very tempted to buy some paintings, but I didn't want to try to carry so much back home.

Hoi An Paper Lantern Employees

Men are very affectionate with one another in Vietnam, even the police. There is no stigma or macho hangups about putting their arm around one another or other similar displays. I have also noticed this with women throughout asia who are never afraid to hold hands in public as a means of friendship.

Hoi An Street Corner

Ho An is a "Pretty" town for Vietnam. It ranges about 400 years old and was the trading center of the Cham kingdom which ruled central Vietnam.

Hoi An Building

While "preserved" would be an overstatement, this small town has a unique and colorful look which was has been kept up over the years.

Hoi An Local

Most buildings house shops and restaurants, but there are a few residences here and there in town, while most of them sit on the outskirts.

Hoi An Local

A large canal runs through one side of the town and within minutes, you can be in the middle of rice paddies.

Rural Vietnam Rice Paddies On The Way Back to Da Nang

On my way back from Hoi An, I stopped at the famous "China Beach". This is the spot were the American servicemen surfed and enjoyed the beach during the war.

China Beach Local Workers

The beach stretches for miles and around to "Monkey Mountain". Most of the beach is used by local fisherman (by the hundreds), who drag their boats out daily to fish. I have included plenty of photos of their homes and their boats sitting in their front yards.

China Beach, Vietnam

Some of  the section of China Beach I took some shots of were from the resort, so they are not even close to being representative of what the beach really looks like outside of that small section (in other words it's cleaned up to look like your not in Vietnam).

China Beach Resort

I was kind of disappointed that so many American companies are beginning to build expensive resorts along the beach. These resorts are so far removed (by design) from what Vietnam really is or really looks like, that it seems silly. Apparently, it is designed purely for tourism since the locals are not legally allowed to visit, but only work in them (doesn't seem right).

Rural Vietnam on the way back from Hoi An

I will include my "Road Shots' also that I took on the way to Hoi An, in addition to the photos I took in the town. This will not be a long post, as it is more visual than words. You may access the shots HERE.


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