Independence Day weekend in Hoi An, Vietnam
September 2nd is an important day in the Vietnamese Calendar as the anniversary of the declaration of independence in 1945. We took advantage of the three-day weekend and flew down to Danang and then on to the old port town of Hoi An, now a UNESCO world heritage site. From the 15th until the 19th century, Hoi An was an important port for the trade routes between Europe, India, China, and Japan. The town faded from prominence in the 19th century when the river silted up and the French were given exclusive rights to Danang, which they developed as their new port and is now the third largest city in Vietnam. Luckily, Hoi An was not destroyed during the wars with the French and the Americans and so it remains architecturally interesting (the merchant houses and pagodas have Chinese and Japanese influences) and is a wonderfully preserved town. Although the old buildings have now been re-incarnated as art galleries, tailor shops, and restaurants, the town remains charming.