An absolutely terrific day in Hoi An.

I took these three pictures from the balcony of my hotel in Hoi An this morning, just before we headed out for the day. The first two are of the South China Sea. The second is the hill to the north of us, which was a Vietcong stronghold during the Vietnam War -- China Beach military base is on the other side of that mountain, we passed it on the way here from Da Nang. Interestingly, it's still standing, although not being used.

We had our daily morning meeting/activity at the beach today and our students had the opportunity to get their feet wet in the South China Sea-- or the East Sea, as our Vietnamese guide Laki reminds us.

We then ventured into the picturesque old quarter of Hoi An with its blend of French colonial and Vietnamese architecture (with hints of both Chinese and Japanese influence as well). After listening to a brief performance of selected Vietnamese folk and opera music, many of our students got started in their efforts to contribute to the local economy (i.e. shopping). Pictured below are a few patient students (Peter, Trevor, Sarah,  and AnneMarie) waiting for their peers to complete some of their purchases.

The students really seemed to enjoy the small town feel and slower pace of Hoi An, which also has a significant fishing industry.

As is often the case here, shady spots are prime real estate, and most of our orientation discussions take place in a protected area.

The highlight of the day was clearly the return visit to the beach for a waist-deep frolic for the afternoon.
Before rewarding themselves with a cool dip, Justin & Trevor went through the paces of a rigorous track team workout.

Later, two local kids challenged Justin to a race along the beach (picture #7). He ended up racing one of them-- I won't tell you who won.