hoi an impressions
The town slowly trickles to life even before 5am, early risers making their way about the pre-dawn blue glow. A lone figure traipses through quiet padi fields waiting to be worked upon; on the tranquil river surface a single boat rests, fishermen collecting their catch from nets left overnight, a scene still and undisturbed as a painting. True early birds make up the scene of bustling seafood markets which open past 3am, complete with shrimps wriggling and jumping in baskets, huge stingrays splayed and locals buzzing in Vietnamese, casting curious looks at out-of-place tourists. An atmosphere of peace as we hurtle past fields cast in shadow, the potential of a new day not yet dawning on them; the sun blooms in the sky like a flaming red flower as pale orange streaks tail our motorbikes. There’s a feeling of waking up with the town as the cool breeze graces our skin and masks our conversations. Tall fields shroud farmers who work relentlessly amidst them, conical straw hats like floating sails in a sea of green. People stroll and dust the streets in fervent sweeps- housework their form of morning exercise; they station themselves at their gates like watchmen, unabashed to stare outrightly at anyone unfamiliar. Dense red carpets of chillies dry in the sun; through the open doors of homes televisions still resemble boxes. Nature is their largest playground and against the setting sun, the beach is a mass gathering of silhouettes. Strong waves ride atop each other like terraces in rice fields as people wait to dunk themselves into the surging currents.