Today I headed South. Travelling through coastal rice paddles, traversing the spectacularly mountainous Hai Van Pass and visiting China Beach, I got to Hoi An. And so the monsoon did.
Tropical rain has been here all day long. The riverside is already a bit flooded (though some locals have shown me where the water of the floods reached last year and it was really high competed to where it currently is) and with the high tide it was impossible to walk by. But the Vietnamese people seem to be used to it, and they don’t leave their bikes and motorbikes aside just for the rain, as the picture shows.
Hoi An is a beautiful city but it has become a shopping meca, therefore you see more tourists than locals in the Center. But you just need to cross to the other side of the river and the real Vietnam appears again. Chickens walking free in streets and houses, children playing on the streets while motorbikes pass just few centimetres from them, and smiles. Lots of them. People seem to be more friendly the more you go to the South.
Tomorrow, if the monsoon allows it, I am going to rent a bike and visit some of the villages around here, to get a closer touch and understanding of the culture and probably to enjoy more smiles.