It seems that we have been extending our little trip down the memory lane this year. Our friends Susanne and Dirk spent their year end vacation in Vietnam and we decided to spend Christmas together in Hoi An in Central Vietnam. Heike and I have been here during our World Trip and we were excited to see the crumbling old town again. Nearly 10 years means a lot in Vietnam and already the trip from Danang to Hoi An showed us how much development happened in the area.The beaches are virtually hidden by large scale property and hotel developments and getting into Hoi An means going through a rather larger city these days. The old town is still good, there's still a ridiculous amount of tailors, lamp manufacturers and first and foremost a photo opportunity at every corner. Not surprisingly my memory card filled quickly.. We joined Dirk and Susanne for a cooking class and were pleasantly surprised at our skills and also went to see the ruins of My Son again.
A very early morning also got us to the fishing village of Duy Hai, close to Hoi An. We joined a photo tour centred around portrait photography (people shots ... always the most difficult thing to to) and Heike decided to borrow Dirk's camera (thanks, mate) and start some shooting herself. With an organised tour and an experienced guide fluent in Vietnamese things are much easier and we had a very good time with the people in Duy Hai. In one of the photos you find a portrait of Mr. Le Sa who's a self taught bamboo carpenter in the village. Born in the 1930's and living in Duy Hai all his life Le Sa went to school during french occupation and fought in the wars in the 60's and 70's. Gosh, there are those moments when I wished I could speak and understand every language on the planet. Our guide Etienne interviewed him some time ago and you can find the story of Le Sa's life on Etienne's blog.
So, about 1200 Photos later I am back in Singapore still marvelling at the experience on that cool morning in Duy Hai. And I swear there's still a hint of "cà phê" on my tongue.