Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Me, You, and Julio Down by the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An

  “The mama pajama rolled out of bed and she ran to the police station…”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Jan 5, 2012.  On the Road to Breathtaking Hoi An:
It rained little tiny baby fists on our backs but we didn’t care not a bit.  And don’t listen to anybody who says you got to buy some ticket to get in here.  Just come.  Hoi An is ready.
  “When the papa found out he began to shout and he started the investigation…”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Many apologies to the Old French Quarter of Hanoi, but the tiny village of Hoi An, which is an UNESCO world heritage site, is one of the coolest places in Asia.
  The mama looked down and spit on the ground every time my name gets mentioned.”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

We drove an hour through rice fields and past chan villages to get here from Da Nang and it was worth every second.  The little open air cafes, the quaint streets, the tiny shops, the rickshaw men peddling, the old women cooking over coals outside yellow painted walls, Hoi An was amazing and cool.  It was like singing along to one of your favorite old songs.
  “The papa said oy, if I get that boy, I’m gonna stick him in the house of detention…” -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

We skipped crossing over the Japanese Bridge and the Tan Ky House, and entered into Phung Hung Old House instead, through the wide ornately decorated entrance and shook ourselves out under the lanterns. 
  “Well I’m on my way, I don’t know where I’m going.  I’m on my way.  I’m taking my time but I don’t know where…”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Then we warmed ourselves with some street pho, the perfect breakfast, huddled on stools beside Quan Cong Temple and chatted with locals.  My daughters rubbed their wet legs by the open fire and I chatted with an Italian couple who had arrived by boat the night before. 
  “In a couple of days they come and take me away…”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Of course, there are so many places to stay in Hoi An, the Minh A Ancient Lodging House and the Dai Long Hotel, but my favorite were the little cafes like the Bobo and the Mermaid, which is right next to Quan Cong Temple, a great place to avoid a sudden rain shower.
  “And when the radical priest come to get me released we was all on the cover of Newsweek.”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Mostly, Hoi An was about rickshaws and sweet street food, but I know many people come here for the cheap shopping.  If you do, don’t go into the shops!  Those are non-locals from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh who rent space and charge extra.  You must go to the local markets on Pham Hong Thai, there anything can be made for you, a suit, a dress right out of Vogue magazine.   If you get there early, they will measure and fit you and make alternations all in the same day.
“Goodbye to Rosie the Queen of Corona…”  -Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the School Yard

Hoi An was even great for my kids.  Who got to ride bikes, stretch their legs, sample local cuisine, and shop a bit for dresses and hats.  We don’t mind the rain… but next time, I’m bringing an umbrella.

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