I've been here for going on 6 days or so now, and I'll be leaving for Hue tomorrow. I really like Hoi An. It has a tiny Old Quarter filled with tailor shops and artist-owned art galleries. I've managed to meet people here, too. The receptionist at my hotel in Dalat is from here and she was coming home to visit her family, so we made plans for her to show me around her hometown and hopefully see things the average tourist doesn't see. I got to visit her grandmother's house, a brand-new construction in a quiet neighborhood. It gave me a nice opportunity to learn more about the people here and for her to practice her English.
The town is lovely. But my biggest complaint is about all the people who want to sell you something and are annoyingly persistent in it. I can rationalize their reasons, economy and all that, and I realize that it's a touristy town, but you think I could walk out of my hotel in the morning without 3 people up and down the street calling out for a motorbike. Then, wherever I go, each street corner has either two or three guys laying on their scooters pestering me to take a ride or a small vendor's cart with old ladies constantly saying, "you buy something!" I don't think even in Saigon there's such a high concentration of touts and solicitors.
So enough whingeing(sp?). I've had almost an entirely new work wardrobe made, definitely a good thing since I've been alternating between two pairs of pants for over a year now and Japanese business shirts never quite seem to reach my wrists. I also got a couple traditional Chinese shirts made, which I was hoping would be cooler, but the one I'm wearing now is soaked through with sweat sitting as I am in a sweltering cafe, but I hope it looks decent.
I moved out of my hotel today and into a beautiful one that for one night costs almost as much as I paid for five in the previous one. But it's gorgeous and I can take some time to hang out and see it properly, and feel like I actually have a lot of money to sit around and sip coffee and eat delicious fruit. The previous hotel is a room with a passable bed and a bathroom that's not too dirty. That's usually enough for me. But every now and then it's nice to splurge a little. My problem is that I've been splurging a little too much, actually I've been splurging all over the city. I don't know if that last phrase came out as intended, but I'm late for lunch so it'll have to stay. Last night walking down the street, I ran into one Ricardo and Laura, the Spanish couple I'd met in Dalat. So I'm showing them a fantastic restaurant here and then heading off for the beach.