Being awaken by the gentle murmur of the near silent engines of the local fishing boats fills you with some kind of satisfaction. You have the awareness of a slower way of life here, a life filled with simple happiness and contentment for what you have rather than the western consuming way of looking for more.
With the knowledge that you are somewhere so tranquil and peaceful, you awaken not only in a good mood but with a sort of determination to adopt this lifestyle. The cooing of a bird in the distance follows the humming engine down one of many rivers flowing through the town of Hoi An. Fresh new sunlight has already begun to flood your room and it is impossible for you not to want it on your skin.
So breakfast outside by the river seems like the only option. This style of living is infectious and it really doesn’t take you long to be consumed by it. A gentle twenty minute bicycle ride takes you to the town centre of Hoi An, travelling through rice paddies and local markets, soaking up this slow moving culture that is both relaxing and contagious.
You pause to catch your breathe, not only from the exercise that is long overdue, but mainly due to your beautiful surroundings. It’s like all of Vietnam, all of what it is known for and what it stands for, in one scene. The river is trickling on by by your feet and the fishermen are still busy working. You continue your gaze upwards and the mountains just keep rolling on which ever way you look. You glance over your shoulder and see the famous rice paddies with women busy working with their straw hats protecting their heads from the harsh heat, there bikes lined up on the path beside you.
A different take of a country
Following the river you eventually come to the Chinese bridge. With the noise growing now from bustle of bikes going whichever way they like, not stopping for the red flashing light the scene has changed. Yet somehow this scene is still peaceful. Perhaps it’s because the river is still there. It’s still able to calm you, knowing that it’s a constant between the two scenes. Perhaps it’s because the locals won’t stop smiling, even if they’re trying to sell you nuts and dried fish. Perhaps it’s because of the shock of how you’ve found such beauty.
But maybe it’s just because you’re jealous of their lifestyle. When people mention Vietnam, people think war. Destruction. Death.
But once you come and see the pure beauty and tranquility of this wonderful country, you see another side, the side the people of Vietnam have created for themselves. They’ve created a society that is strange and odd and yet works. Vietnamese locals are content with their street food stall or their tourist trap of knock-off Ray Bans. They are happy with themselves, happy with their simple life, a life which they smile about.
That’s why you are jealous and that’s why you can only dream of adopting a lifestyle where you no longer keep wanting more for no reason what’s so ever.
What do you think? Have you been to Vietnam? Have your say in the comments section below.