On my last full day in Hoi An, I went fishing on the river with Dao’s father.
Dao was there with her sister and cousin, and it was the first time they’d been out fishing with their father, so it was an event for all of us. We tried three different spots on the river but didn’t catch anything except a bunch of thumb-sized puffer fish, which were so plentiful in one spot that I hooked two of them by the tail(!) as I was bringing in my line. We snacked during the day on salted watermelon, boiled peanuts and ice cream.
And that day I finally got a bit of the true Vietnamese driving experience.
The intersections in the center of Hoi An are busy, and governed by neither traffic lights nor stop signs. When you approach, you slow down and weave your way through the cross traffic of pedestrians, bicycles, cars and motorbikes.
I drove Dao on her motorbike from the town center to the boat launch point in the morning. It was definitely nerve-wracking, but nothing compared to the afternoon drive. After fishing, I drove Dao’s sister’s motorbike from the river market to their family’s house. We carried six 12-foot fishing poles atop our right shoulders, like a lance, and this made the intersections almost harrowing.
Since we didn’t catch any fish worth keeping, Dao’s father picked up some things at the market, and at Dao’s house we had a feast, of…
Squid stuffed with mushrooms and fried rice
Steamed fish, cooked with rice noodles, onions and fresh herbs, then combined with fresh lettuce and thin strips of banana peel and wrapped in rice paper.
Baby clams, stir-fried with fresh herbs and chillis
And, of course, bowls of steamed rice