Iv and Her Bicycle: Biking in Hoi An

There are several stops that travelers frequent within Vietnam; one of them is Hoi An, the Vietnamese capital of all things tailor-made. In addition to shopping, the city boasts a European feel nonexistent elsewhere in Vietnam. It is entirely up to you to view this as a good or bad thing, but I quite enjoyed the contrast of Hoi An to every other major visiting area in the country. Still no significant western influence in terms of businesses and chains (my view: great thing), the riverfront promenade is dotted with Asian lanterns in a European style.

Food along the river is good, but there are many undiscovered gems along the main road to the beach. Full Moon Restaurant was one of my favorites that boasted the best papaya & mango salad that I've eaten.
It was also along this main road that I became a heck of a lot more comfortable in riding a bicycle. I could have taken a cab both to and from the beach as well as into town. Alternatively, I could have walked to the beach, a route that I opted for exactly once and regretted with every step forward in the blistering heat and unabating humidity. This is where stubbornness takes a leading role and rather than admitting that the hotel reception was completely incorrect in assessing that the beach was only 3km away and therefore succumbing to a cab, I thought it was a brilliant idea to keep walking until I reached the beach an hour and 15 minutes later. I've had finer moments.

The following days, many more than I had planned on spending in Hoi An, a bicycle that cost one US dollar to rent was my method of transportation, whereas a one-way cab was going to cost around $5USD. Yes, cheap compared to NY but significantly less fun than a bicycle. And for all you pessimists, no, the bicycle was not missing breaks nor was it hanging on its last thread. All pieces of the bike were in place in addition to a gay little basket to hold my beach attire.

The town was completely different from the chaotic Hanoi that I'd just been: lanes shrunk to 2 or 3 versus 12 or 13 scooters in one traffic direction, making the roads significantly more manageable. Manageable but still not sane by western standards. Adhering to traffic lights is optional practice but thankfully there were only a handful to any given destination. After a successful drive to the beach on Day 1 with a bike, I met a J, a Brit who lives in SEA for several months a year. (Not bad.) On our way home to our respective hotels, J said that I had to try this juice concoction from one of the local markets.

Getting to this market involved acrobatic bicycle maneuvering. I am not kidding. Pivoting through crowds of walkers and scooters and cars over potholes, on a narrow street, and IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, this 50m was no simple feat. Hey, at least the juice was awesome.

The days that I spent in Hoi An were fruitful (great word), from the delicious food (most food on Instagram from here) to the tailored clothes to the sweet disposition of all of the local people, but most of all, I enjoyed the fact that I was able to get comfortable at something basic at such an old age. Apparently, I'm half dead. Now I'm ready to take on Saigon on a bicycle! Haha. Just kidding.

The prettiest water I've seen on my travels

Nighttime bridge viewing

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