Hoi An, Vietnam was my first destination. Originally, a place to meet up with friends, and unknowingly during the Chinese New Year. Because of the timing, the streets were flooded with people, and it was impossible to get good quality photos of the Ancient Town without masses in my photos. It's a sad reality, as the architecture is beautiful and charming. It's upsetting when I look at other photographs from the area and know that I spent a week without an ability to take the same photos. At one point, I tried crossing a bridge to the island area, and stood still on the bridge because there were so many people trying to cross that nobody could move.
Hoi An is an UNESCO heritage site, known for the French colonial architecture dating from the 15th-19th century. The ancient town is lined with lanterns, and yellow painted buildings with weathered and dirt like coverings on the walls. It's a beautiful area that used to be a South Asian trading port. Aside from the local history, with the influx of tourists, tailoring is Hoi An's claim to fame with tourists. There are more tailor shops than any other trade. My only tip if considering a tailor, do research, find someone reputable from online reviews. I was a not-so-lucky person with poor measurements, a garment that didn't fit, and an employee who wouldn't return my deposit. I ended up getting a pre-made romper hanging for sale, but it wouldn't have been my first choice, and it doesn't fit as well as I would hope for being "tailored".
Hoi An was my first taste of Vietnam. As a rather poor communist country, they don't have a lot of the luxuries we have in the United States. Grocery stores being one. It was quite a culture shock for me. In my travels, the most enjoyable thing is walking through supermarkets and experiencing the changes in shelf content. It's fun to pick random things from the shelves and try them. Hoi An had small convenience stores with global luxury goods like nuts, chocolate, ice cream, potato chips, and candy; all at ridiculous prices. Because of the new year, the markets were closed, so finding produce was impossible for several days of my visit.
For the week in Hoi An, I found myself enjoying the luxury of restaurants, though nothing could quite satisfy my taste buds. I found that the food was sodium loaded and smothered with MSG's that sent my cravings through the roof. I enjoyed several street meals, which was plentiful. Kid sized plastic furniture scattered in pockets on every road served the local Cau Lau specialty meal. It's a thicker rice noodle with delicious broth, usually pork, and some greens. You would find many vendors roasting little pork skewers as well. I limited the side road food because of the MSG load, but it was also the cheapest meals you could find!
A few more of Hoi An from the water front :)