“Paradise has never been about the places. It exists in moments. In connection. In flashes across time.”
― Victoria Erickson
Stunning beaches, bicycle-only roadways, friendly people and stunning colorful lanterns lighting the way. Paradise it seems was found. The heat hits you in the face when you exit your room, but the shores of the beach give you the much needed cool down. The hustle and bustle of neighboring cities wear you down, but the calm of this little town gives you the quiet you desire. Hoi An, Vietnam, The City of Lanterns, on the surface could be called Paradise in many ways.
After all the travel changes and dealing with the impending Covid-19 issues, this was the first truly solo stop of my adventure. I took the city bus from DaNang to Hoi An. It was a simple and inexpensive way to arrive. My homestay was just a few blocks from the bus station, so I choose to walk. I arrived and was left waiting for the staff to arrive. I waited nearly an hour and for a moment was getting frustrated. Time then began to speed by as I spent most of my time exploring the gardens and seeing the multitude of plants. The Red Ceramics (RC) Homestay definitely was lovely. The room situation was not as it was explained online and I had a few unfortunate roommates, but overall my lodging was fine.
Luckily, RC provided bicycles for residents to use. This was perfect since we were a bit out of town. The first evening and morning I pretty much stayed nearby. The following evening I decided to explore. I hit the road on my bicycle. Old Town Hoi An is exactly what I pictured Vietnam to look like. Small streets, no cars, and lanterns everywhere. It was stunningly beautiful. The global pandemic was starting to pick up speed, so the crowds were small, making the town easily maneuvered. The river and the shops along the way are the perfect spots to spend an evening and to watch the sunset. The gondola rides down the river appeared to be lovely and romantic. I did not take one, seeing as I was solo. 🙂 The Sky Lanterns were a sight to see as people set them off just after the sunset.
The beaches of Hoi An are just remarkably beautiful. I spent most mornings set up at Sound of Silence beachside coffee shop. The breeze, wonderful juices, and quiet atmosphere helped me be very productive. Due to the aforementioned pandemic, I pretty much had the beach to myself most days. I would ride my bike out to the beach each morning and enjoy the views along the way. You never knew what or who you would meet along the way. Each and every morning I passed a water buffalo tied along the roadside. I took to calling him Tuesday, as I first saw him on Tuesday afternoon. In the afternoons after the beach, I would move to a town coffee shop to continue my day. Here I was able to make some new friends, mostly other nomads. It made for lovely days.
One evening Chuck was coming down from DaNang to meet an old friend of his, Beverly. They were planning to have dinner and I was asked to tag along. It was lovely meeting her and her sweet friend. I learned a lot from them and the food was delish. A real highlight came my last evening in Hoi An. Travis, an old friend from Nashville asked me to meet him and his girlfriend for dinner. He is a pilot who now lives in Vietnam. It was so wonderful to catch up with him. His girlfriend, Nga, is so very lovely and kind. On top of the wonderful company was one of the best meals I had on my journey. Am Vegetarian Restaurant was so very good. We ordered a mix of food and it was all fantastic.
While in Hoi An I felt connected, stayed in the moments, and enjoyed every flash in time. It truly was Paradise. It was one of my favorite stops but I took the fewest photos. Along my time in South East Asia, I loved many stops. Hoi An was truly the first place that I stopped and thought “I could live here.”