14 Mar: Road to Hoi An

This morning we were sad to leave behind our Peacetrees leader and in-country program director, who needed to go meet up with an incoming group of visitors. Not to worry – we still have Peacetrees personnel with us, one US staff and one VN staff.

Our diminished band left Hue and headed south again, crossing mountains via a Japanese-built 6 km long tunnel at the 1300m elevation, then skirting Danang and stopping briefly at Marble Mountain. This was the site of a major battle during the Vietnam War, involving US Special Forces. It has a major marble quarry, and today a sculpture factory.

We reached Hoi An on the coast in time for lunch. Since China was closed to foreigners, Hoi An was established as the foreign trading post very early on. So there are sections that look Chinese, others look Japanese or French.

Once China was opened to trading and the river started silting up, it became a backwater (literally), a town that time forgot. There was nothing important here, so there was no war damage.

Today the old town center is designated as a pedestrian zone. Well, at least a no-car zone. One can still be mowed down by the ubiquitous scooters.

It’s a lovely place. But all the shops and services are aimed squarely at the numerous tourists. Hoi An strikes me as the Vietnamese version of Carmel.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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