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Travel Diaries: Hoi An – Part 1

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Dates: 03/02

Solo travelling is interesting. Wait, let me rephrase that. Solo travelling on another continent is interesting. I’ve done this before, but in Europe, there are familiar places with familiar languages and cultures. This, southeast Asia, is a whole different kettle of fish.

I say this in the best of ways. My start in the capital wasn’t what I would call ideal, and my arrival in Hoi An was challenging. However, it was here that I started to see the beauty in Vietnamese people. Hoi An had a lot to teach me. I’ll reveal the lessons I learnt over this four-part series. 

Let’s start at the beginning. My flight to Da Nang was delayed. Twice. I was worried about my transfer to Hoi An, but I made it out in time in the end. The problem was that I couldn’t find the transfer. That was when this kind man walked up to me and asked me if I needed anything. I would never trust anyone in Europe, but I was desperate and something told me I could trust him. So I did. 

This man turned out to be waiting for other travellers. He tried to get in touch with the transfer company, only to find a notice on Google stating it had permanently closed down. I stood there in shock. How was I supposed to make it to a city that is an hour or so away now? 

I tried to go back to the airport, but the security guard stopped me. I tried explaining that I needed to sort my transfer out but he wouldn’t hear any of it and said I needed to go through another door. I left, confused, and walked around the airport, only to end up in another security section.

“What you want?”

“Deep breath, Claire. These people don’t speak English well,” I comforted myself. Anxious and confused, I explained the situation to the guard. He asked me if I could call, but my sim card only had internet on it. 

“You no worry. Come.” We walked outside and he took my phone. Copied the number and called the company. By some miracle, he managed to get through. I don’t know what words were exchanged, but he told me to go back to where I was and wait. If they didn’t show up or call within 20 minutes, I was to go back to the security section.

30 minutes went by and no one showed. So I went back. This time, there was another security guard who didn’t speak any English at all. My anxiety turned into frustration as I tried to explain it all again. He took my passport and gave it back without a word. The first guard walked back in and I let out a sigh of relief. 

“Didn’t they call?” “No,” I sighed. 

“Come.” He led me outside and took his phone out. He called the company again and shocked me as he suddenly raised his voice. It sounded like he was angry and fighting. “Come with me,” he said as he guided me back to the transfer area. 

“There, he will come now.”

A man suddenly showed up with my name on a paper. I let out a second sigh of relief as I thanked the security guard profoundly. I have no idea what this man said on the phone. All I know is that he sounded angry. Whatever he said or did, I was deeply grateful. I tried to tip him but he refused. 

“You go now. Bye,” and he walked away. 

That was it. The start of my journey in Hoi An. I wondered if I was going to hate this city. After all, I was off to quite a rocky start. Little did I know that I was about to have two of the best days of my life. 

Do you want to know what happened next? Then stay tuned for Part 2 of my adventures in Hoi An.

You can find photos of my Hoi An experience on the official Alpha Content Instagram page. Follow @the_life_of_a_creative_writer for more.

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