Boat Hull, Hoi An, Vietnam

Boat Hull, Hoi An, Vietnam, 2018

Boat Hull, Hoi An, Vietnam, 2018

I came to Hoi An intending to visit the ruins of My Son, but the weather has proven too unpredictable for me to hire a car and make the hour drive. Instead, I've photographed this beautiful town daily. There are fewer scooters and people in Hoi An than Ho Chi Minh City, and it's considerably smaller, yet I find it as engaging. The town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with temples, colonial architecture, galleries, and great tacos.

Thunderstorms attacked yesterday, trapping me inside stores during the downpours. Despite the rain, prayer sticks were smoking along the streets all day, and food and cigarettes were sitting on platters for the dead. It was a special day to remember friends and family who have passed, and the town felt especially holy.

This morning I walked along the Hoi An river, looking at the lanterns swaying from the river and wind rock the boats. As is my want, I went a direction that I hadn’t been before, looking for something new. I came upon a man paddling his boat across the water, people exercising, temples, the clacking of palm fronds that reminds me of the sound a Mantis Shrimp makes when it punches, and a thin boat turned upside on stands along the walkway. Of all the scenes that I saw it was the boat that interested me the most.

Bleached moss or seaweed fingered out across the hull, creating pattern after pattern, harmony after harmony, rhythm after rhythm. As I stood close in taking pictures, a woman ran her hand across my back and pointed at the boat, as if to approve of my photographic taste. Across the hull, a man stood watching me, seemingly mystified by why I would take a picture, move a few inches, and then take another picture. Finally, perhaps sensing that I was beyond help, he walked away, mystified.

I, however, wasn’t mystified at all, just in awe of how something so simple and easily overlooked as this hull could have so many images etched upon it.