In one of the days at Hội An, we had coffee with Etienne, the French photographer we’ve met weeks before on the way from Bắc Hà to Hanoi.
He said in the European state of mind, people lack the motivation to create something of their own, and there is too much bureaucracy. Everybody raised an eyebrow when he decided to move to Vietnam.
In this part of the world, you could decide to open a business and just go with it. “It’s Asia, everything is possible!” he said, seeping on his coffee.
He told us about his job as a photographer and teacher and said he likes to go early morning to the fishing market, and take photos of the working people.
Later on that evening we looked for his Facebook page and it really did had spectacular photographs from the market.
He recommended a place to have breakfast at, so we went there the next morning. It was a busy street with people sitting at booths, that were open just for a few hours each day.
We sat on the plastic chairs and had noodles soup with some kind of a round rissole made out of crab meat, lots of greens and lemon, and it really was as good as he said.
After breakfast, we went to the big market by the river that was still empty. We sat to drink some sweet Vietnamese coffee and looked at the colorful wooden boats that had eyes painted on their fronts.
A man approached and sat with us. He had a sun-kissed, wrinkled face, and long lean arms. He said he’s name was Captain Dan. The Captain told us that he guides tours on the river with his boat, and gave us his card.
We strolled in the market. I bought a skirt from a tailor and ordered another one from a fabric I chose, and when it was too hot we stopped to have some cold fresh passion fruit juice.
When we were hungry we went to have Bánh mì at a place that boasted about Anthony Bourdain visiting and filming there an episode for one of his shows.
Each afternoon we would rent bicycles from the hotel and go to the beach.
The way took about fifteen minutes – you go straight on the main road and as you go farther from the city center, there are fewer and fewer houses, and more fields with big animals and small rivers. Some of the rivers go under the road. As you get closer to the shore, buildings, restaurants, shops, and hotels appear again.
At the beach’s entrance, there is a parking lot for bicycles only, with a man who parks them and give you a note with a number. When you want to get the bicycles back you give him the note, and he finds it.
The beach itself is one of the prettiest ones.
The sand is soft and the water is clear and calm, stretching endlessly.
Đà Nẵng’s skyline is visible in the North, with its skyscrapers and bridges.
Straight ahead, the only thing that breaks the horizon is a lonely wooden boat that somebody tied there with a simple rope.
Some areas have more people, and some are empty.
We would spend hours on the beach, swimming in the water between plants floating here and there, walking on the sand, reading. Ordering a coconut with a straw in it from one of the women passing by.
You can was after swimming with a small squeaky tap on the side has ice-cold water.
My heart breaks a little every time I think of those days at the beach.
No commitments, not knowing anyone, no sense of time and no reason to go back.
There are many tailors in Hội An and you can ask for tailored clothes, so I bought a swimsuit from a woman who ran a store by the beach. I chose a fabric with a print of yellow flowers, and she let me try different shapes to match the size.
She asked if I wanted to add padding to the bra, and I blurted out “No thank you, I have enough”.
The ice broke, and she said repeatedly to Roni “Lucky-Lucky!”.
We liked her so much that Roni also bought a swimsuit.
Now the yellow swimsuit is hanging on the shower at home, reminds me of Hội An’s beach, singing “Lucky-Lucky” every time I wear it.
One night, I dreamed I was sitting at the beach with a group of beautiful tan women. I say, “Do you know that feeling that you just want to go into the sea and stay there forever?”. The women node, one of them even says that this is what she did on her vacation in Italy. Later, I get into the water and dive and see that the bottom is full of cocktails’ umbrellas.
Roni woke me up, to go to the beach again.