Finding Treasure in Hoi An

by James Murtaugh, Jul 29, 2006 | Destinations: Vietnam / Hoi An

Hoi An, 2005.

My wife and I like to walk around and explore wherever we go in Vietnam. On this day we are down near the river. We are talking to a young man that we met a year before. He sold postcards at that time.

A woman, about thirty years old, came over to him and they talked in vietnamese. She asked who we were. He told her that we were americans. Nice people. Turning to us, she asked if we would like to come to her house. We said "Yes".

The postcard boy went on his way and we followed the woman to her house. Her house is cement. One big room with a small kitchen out a side door. It is the house of someone who is poor. But as I look around, I see that it is very clean and neat with everything in it's place.

We sit on little plastic stools and she tells us that she makes money as a part time waitress at a cafe. She would like to show us something. It is her treasure!

She returns with a photo album. The first picture is of a boy and girl in school uniforms! They are her children. Other pictures are of them during Tet and birthday partys. She is so very proud of them! The woman explains that they are in school for half a day. During the rest of the day they sell postcard and bracelets to tourists.

It is clear that there is no man in this house but I do not ask what happened to him. Divorce is becoming more common in Vietnam.

Our visit with her is coming to a close. I ask her to see the bracelets that her children sell. I pick out three and pay her three dollars. I know that the street price is three for one dollar.

From the smile on the woman's face, I know that this has made her very happy. Three dollars is a lot of money to her.

We say goodbye to her and I remember her smile and wave as I write this.

My wife and I have now seen treasure in Hoi An .............


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