In the morning a driver in a tall black van arrived and took us to where the bus station. While we drove by the big river, he told us that he’s Catholic and there are many Catholics like him in Vietnam, along with many Buddhists, but no Muslims at all.
We arrived pretty quickly to his office. It was a room facing the street, and in the entrance parked many motorcycles and small vehicles.
I looked around – there were two small fans on the walls that eased on the heat and a lot of photos with landscapes of the country.
The driver went out again and came back a few minutes later with the van. This time, many women got off the car, some of them pregnant and some with babies, got into the office and disappeared behind a beaded curtain.
We still had fifteen minutes to wait and I wanted to use the bathroom before we go. I went as well behind the beaded curtain into a big living room, where an old couple sat behind a table and drank beer. They kindly smiled at me as I took off my shoes in the entrance and looked for the bathroom around the house.
After a while, the driver told us to take our bags and cross the street, where we waited for the bus.
As it arrived, it was full of people from different countries and very humid. We sat in the back, hoping to catch a breeze from the window since there was no air conditioning.
Đà Nẵng and Hội An are close, so it took about an hour to get there.
A group of Asian tourists kept leaning above us to take photos. We could see through the window the bridge with the dragon, which everybody on the bus was very excited about, then the sea, some resorts places under construction, some shabby neighborhoods.
Eventually, we stopped at a sunny parking lot in Hội An.
As we got off, a bunch of bikers approached us and asked if anybody needs a ride. We joined two of them and they took us to the hotel.
As we arrived, a nice polite woman with a blue dress greeted us, and said another Israeli couple was staying there and the guy’s name is also Roni.
A younger woman showed us our spacious room in the third floor, and after a brief shower we went downstairs again.
The women in the reception told us about the area and the hotel, and how to get from place to place. I had a hard time concentrating in the conversation because I was tired from the ride and the heat, and my eyes kept wandering to the sweat droplets on the woman’s forehead. They all wore thick and long clothes, and I imagined they must be really hot underneath them.
We went outside to look for the marketplace.
It was about 12 PM and the streets were dozy, but the market was relatively busy. We entered a big building with lots of booths of food and had hot and spicy noodles soup with lemon.
After we sweated all our demons out we strolled outside, exploring the city with the little streets and clothing and souvenirs shops, And when it was really hot we came back to the hotel’s swimming pool.
Since the beach was a bit far from the city center we chose a hotel with a pool, where we could spend the hot afternoon hours.
The hotel was medium-sized and very cute and the pool was small and surrounded by plants, and pleasant women worked there. We hade coffee and swam in the chilly water and later on a woman with children came there too, and also the Israeli couple, who talked Hebrew quietly.
Around 5 PM the weather got better, so we washed in the room and went outside towards the night market.
We arrived at a wide river with lots of small colorful boats and crossed the bridge to the other side. Fat cows stood between the houses and munched on the grass.
As the skies got darker, colorful lamps were lit everywhere in the main street where the market was. Women in simple wooden boats cruised along the river and sold candles in different colored paper boats, and people bought them and floated them on the water.
There was a festive feeling all around.
Once in a while, groups of children passed by wearing costumes of dragons, as one is the head and the other is the tail. Other kids walked with them, some dressed as chubby round-faced idols and others play drums.
It was a few days before the mid-autumn festival, which has a back story about a dragon attacking the sinners and the god of earth collecting bribe to calm the dragon down.
There were many booths of different objects, special lamps, clothes, jewelry, bags.
We sat to eat Cao lầu, a dish unique to the city – noodles with fried pork and lots of greens, and spicy sauce on the side.
We walked a lot, on both sides of the river, getting lost in the stylish shops and streets. We went inside a book and souvenirs store and spent some time in there since everything was so beautiful. We saw various art shops, tailors, housewares – everything so special and diverse, like getting into someone’s attic full of goodies.
Like in Sapa we saw many Israelis, perhaps because it was the holidays in Israel.
we shared some fatty coconut pastry that Roni bought from a woman in the street, and had tea at a cafe that looked like a museum. We entered a coffee shop that smelled amazing and looked at the bags of coffee beans they sold and then tried coffee ice-cream that they made.
It was getting late and the market was closing, so we walked back to the hotel.
Roni got into a small grocery store and bought ground coffee beans. while I stood outside and watched a big dragons-parade that blocked the street.
We stopped for beer in a bar on the way back, and went to sleep on the huge hotel’s bed.