Hoi An, once a major international port from the 17th to 19th centuries where countless of merchants around the world used to trade and stay, retains a sense of the old world charm. I spent half a day strolling the Old Quarter, a Unesco World Heritage site, visiting some of historical buildings, old houses and Chinese assembly halls.
This riverside town was the first settlement of the Chinese in southern Vietnam. And by judging from the numbers of Chinese assembly halls established here, including those of the Fujian, Cantonese, Hainan, Hakka and Chaozhou Chinese Congregation, I thought I could easily find somebody who can speak Chinese or other dialects to tell me more about the life of the Chinese community in Vietnam. But I was totally wrong. I could only get a vague idea of it from the plaques in the assembly halls, as they are all inscribed in Chinese. Yet I wonder what all these foreign characters on the walls, pillars and murals mean to the Vietnamese Chinese. The language, which is one of the most important aspect of a civilization, is supposed to be something that is close to their heart. But now, they appeared nothing more than a foreign language.
At a distance of just 5km away, it was so natural for me to spend the last golden hour of the day at the palm-lined Cua Dai beach. To me, it is such a blessing to live in a town situated so close to the beach. Don’t you think so?
Every night, the streets in the Old Quarter will be lit up by these beautiful Chinese lanterns. It was the nostalgic mood, that relaxed all my senses. Or maybe that dreamy yellow hue, that I wish the lanterns being lit up forever, and the night never ends.