The third day we were in Hoi An, Vietnam, Alex and I were more than ready to rent some bikes and go exploring outside of the city. After a week in crowded Hanoi and touristy Hoi An with its endless noise, scooters, and people, we headed out of town and past miles of marsh and rice paddies on the way to the beach.
As we neared the beach, we discovered tiny villages dotted along the coast, made up mostly of fisherman and their families. Dogs, kids, and older Vietnamese people stared at us we biked along the roads and dirt trails toward the water. After turning off a particularly secluded dirt road, we were stopped by a man and his kids. My first thought was a tinge of fear as they surrounded us as we climbed off our bikes. The man smiled and said to me, “How old are you?” I was instantly relieved that he was more anxious to try out the few phrases of English he knew than rob us.
We talked back and forth awkwardly as the curious kids giggled and stared particularly at Alex, eyeing his every move. We smiled and chatted for a few more minutes and they seemed happy to have us visiting their corner of paradise. We said our good-byes and hopped back on our bikes.
At the beach, we saw about two dozen giant straw baskets, obviously used as a type of fishing boat by the people nearby. The boats contained their home-made lures and tackle and showed signs of being used recently. We abandoned our bikes and played in the warm South China Sea, watched a light rain roll in from the ocean, long enough to only scare us and then started the long trek back to Hoi An and the noise and bustle of the city.