This was my second visit to Hôi An. I adore the place, with its yellow walls and lanterns. But I wished for a more earthy experience to take home. A fishing village, with all its bustle and banter and fishy chaos, was on my mind. I wanted to smell the salty air, and have the wind on my face. Of course, an easy option would have involved taking up a photo tour of the fishing villages. Hôi An has a few of those, run by people whose work I admire. That way the logistics would have been taken care of, and most likely would have fetched me guaranteed photographic returns. Easy! But guaranteed returns take away the serendipity of travel. Uncertainty is appealing. One of the great joys of travel is to follow the gut, and while we are at it, chance upon stuff that make memories. Seeking advice from locals in a tourist town (and Hôi An is run over by tourists) is pointless, as they would most certainly have a cousin who drives a taxi, and who happens to know just the right kind of place I am looking for. How convenient! So there I was, trusting good ol’ Google Maps to find me a real fishing village. Duy Hái, at the mouth of the Thu Bon river, fitted the bill. It would take me an hour of cycling next morning. I hit the sack early, hoping for the rain to stay away next morning. I knew I was trusting my gut, and at times it goes wrong. I knew I had risked losing out on a morning shoot in the old town, with my favourite mustard walls bathed in soft light, and the streets devoid of selfiestick-weilding tourists. For all its worth, Google Map directions are to be taken with a pinch of salt in semi rural South East Asia, and I could have ended up a blind alley. A 4 AM wake up call and an hour of cycling would then have amounted to Zilch.
But it worked that morning! I had bright sunshine, a docking pier full of local fishermen (and no tourists), salt spray on my hair, wind on my face, and some photographs I cherish. All I had wished for!