My wife and I stayed in a town called Hoi An in Vietnam for a few weeks in March to have a leisurely escape from winter and to experience this beautiful country. For me it was a wonderful opportunity to have time to sketch every day at an unhurried pace.
Many mornings I would get up early and walk into the old town with my stool, my bag of drawing stuff and my coffee thermos. The streets would be quiet before the hordes of tour groups and the local residents would be starting their day. Most of these were done in two consecutive mornings because I didn’t want to miss the hotel’s breakfast.
The motor bike is the family van and the pickup truck of Vietnam!
Doing this sketch by the river was particularly relaxing and the chicken was one of many seeming to live in the strip park along the river.
Sometimes I would try to focus on architectural details. The yellow wash on the buildings is the signature colour of Hoi An Ancient Town.
Sketching in the comfort of an open air coffee shop with a delicious Vietnamese black coffee or a local beer is ideal.
Buildings don’t move and are easier to capture than people but it’s the activities of it inhabitants that define it’s culture.
The women of Vietnam work hard and long, especially in the markets. Their skin is completely covered because the dark tanned skin is undesirable, a young lady traditionally is less acceptable for marriage. Ironically, I was happy to get some tan!
The straw hat is made of palm leaves and a bamboo frame. It is very light, reflects the hot sun, repels the rain and is made from local materials. However, it did not seem to be worn by the younger generation. Traditional and practical are just not “cool”!
An hour from Hoi An lie the thousand year old ruins of My Son, a complex of Hindu temples from the Champa civilization. They were abandoned 500 years ago and rediscovered by French archeologists just over a hundred years ago.
Dining is delightful in Vietnam and the street food is everywhere. The food carts are mobile and the competition for a good location is tough. The mostly women sellers work long days and into the night.
It was a wonderful place to vacation and each sketch is a memory.