This is our fifth trip back to Hoi An over a 17 year period. The development and changes, tourism wise, have been amazing. So many of the tourists are now other Vietnamese, now middle class and traveling from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi on tour. What was once a quiet little town is now crowded with retail and restaurants in what were once residential houses.
Hoi An was never bombed during the American War (what they call our Vietnam War). Hoi An is about 15 miles south of Da Nang in central Vietnam. It was in South Vietnam during the war. The old town buildings are hundreds of years old. The area is a UNESCO Heritage site.
On our third trip we stumbled across the Q Bar in old town. Owned by an English and American Vietnamese couple (Sean and Ha), they made us feel very welcome. Ha immigrated to California as a young child with her family. They live in Pasadena. Ha’s two siblings are dentists in Pasadena area. Ha decided to return to Vietnam as an adult with Sean and oponed a very upper end bar called Q Bar and tapas restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, across the street from the Caravelle Hotel. A few years later they opened the second Q Bar and tapas in Hoi An. They both live in Ho Chi Minh and part time in California. Two years ago they closed the Q Bar in Ho Chi Minh. Q Bar Hoi An lives on.
On our first visit we met their manager Minh Dinh. Mom and I always sat together with Minh and had a great time. He spoke decent English. We parted friends with hugs and all. After our first visit it was 3 years before we returned, 2014. He remembered us and always sat with us at our table for the three nights while also tending to his staff. We liked him and he liked us. When we departed we exchanged E-mail addresses and maintained contact.
He greeted us last night with hugs and a kiss for mom. We had the usual wonderful bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. We caught up on the last year. He invited us to dinner tonight at that Q Bar. He had a private table reserved in the back for us. The three of us pigged out on a real Vietnamese feast. The photo is pretty grainy.