On our first full day in Da Nang we (all 25 of us!) loaded a bus and headed 40 minutes to the neighboring city of Hoi An to immerse ourselves in some Vietnamese history! Hoi An is one of those cities that seems to be stuck in time. Despite the boom in tourism in these areas, the buildings, streets, and faces of the locals hold decades of stories that point back to the rich history this nation has.
The bridge pictured on the right here was actually built by the Japanese in the 1500s as a means for trading between Asian nations. The bridge has remained relatively the same since it's original construction which is quite impressive.
It started raining on us while we were walking around and touring Hoi An, but lucky for us there were ladies on bikes prepared to sell us umbrellas, panchos, and hats of every color under the sun, not to mention fruit of every variety!
This was one of the best snacks I ate in Vietnam. Its basically thinly sliced pieces of banana surrounded by thinly sliced pieces of sweet potato all fried together and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory and it cost less than 1USD!
I love this pic of the boys. They were loving exploring Hoi An together.
Vietnamese currency, called the dong, does not have coins any more...just paper money. That being said, this 5000 dong bill equates to 22 cents! Because of this, I gave a few of my bills to Hunter and told him to save it up so he could buy a toy. He was ecstatic (all paper money is like gold to a 4 year old) and quickly dug it deep in his pocket so it wouldn't fall out.
It wouldn't be Vietnam without some Durian...aka the smelliest fruit in the world!
Jen-sissy and her boys!
Hunter received a few more bills from the other aunties and uncles and soon he was holding about 7 paper bills in his pocket and he felt like a millionaire!!
The hidden secret to Vietnamese food...the SAUCE.
So after Hunter collected all his money we walked into a gift shop and he picked out this really awesome 3D dinosaur puzzle...for about 48000 dong...2 bucks!! Gotta love Vietnam.
And... we actually managed to get one group shot while at Hoi An! It was such a blessing to hang out with Jen's family on this tip. For me, living away from home and family the past five months in Japan, it really meant a lot to be around family during the holidays. I feel really lucky to have spent the time with these incredible people!