Notes from a Vietnamese Beach

An Bang Beach, Hoi An

It was getting dark when I went out for a swim after my beach yoga class, but like a desert at night, the beach was coming alive with sounds and shining lantern eyes popping out along the shore. Busier than the heat of the day, the water was now filled with people – little kids getting thrown over shoulders into the water, women swimming in t-shirts and shorts, and people laughing. Everyone was making the most of the chance to refresh after a hot and sticky day. A man was rowing out to sea in a woven reed boat that looked like half of a giant coconut, and the clouds overhead were growing, turning darker grey. The water was cool and wavy, only a bit salty, giving occasional little electric stings. The beachfront thatch roofed restaurants had their lights on, beer drinker's shouts of 'mot, hai, ba, yo!' echoing across the water, while the beach was taken over by small camps of families with portable white lights, small bbq fires and large coolers, making food for dinner and to sell. I went to take a closer look and was offered some fish and a large sesame rice cracker dipped in spicy chili sauce that made my nose run. I could have bought some dried squid or waffle rice sheets embedded with little fish skeletons.

Dragonflies filling the sky

The beach had transformed from a still desert to a lively playground in the cool dark. It started to rain as I left.

Stuck on a windowpane



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