A Hoi An Christmas in Vietnam.
Celebrating Christmas in Hoi An, Vietnam.
After spending my first two days in Hoi An, Vietnam, in a cheap but moldy and damp guesthouse I decided to splurge for three nights in a nicer hotel. It was Christmas, after all, and I was looking forward to celebrating my first Christmas abroad, my first Hoi An Christmas in Vietnam, and sometimes you just have to treat yourself.
I met up with Matilda, a Swedish girl I met a few days earlier in Nha Trang. We both were going on the same path and both now staying at the same hotel &msash; NhiNhi Hotel — and celebrate Christmas in Hoi An Vietnam together.
We got pizza for lunch on Christmas Eve. Not a Vietnamese delicacy, no. And certainly not what most people would consider a holiday meal. But pizza is kind of a Bromann family Christmas Eve tradition that stemmed from me growing up as a picky eater who didn’t like the Polish food my mom’s family served each year. So when we got home from the festivities with family we would always order a pizza so I’d have something to eat.
It’s the little things in life that you sometimes have to cherish.
That night we attended our hotel’s Christmas party. It was a weird but amazing little event that was almost more like a kids birthday party than a Christmas celebration. We played tug of war. We had a sing a long. We played musical chairs (in which I totally fell on my ass when I was sitting down and someone pulled the chair out from right under me to steal it). There was a pinata like game. There were dance performances. There was a conga line. There was the most amazing Vietnamese Santa ever. And there was a Christmas dinner filled with actual Vietnamese delicacies.
Photos from the Hoi An Christmas Celebration at NhiNhi Hotel
Afterward our hotel Christmas party, we headed to a bar for a beer, which turned into many beers when a strange Israeli invited us to the table he was sharing with a Canadian girl and three British boys. And then we all headed out to another bar, where there were more beers and dancing on pool tables.
And I was a good girl, who didn’t make out with anyone, and who left at the early hour of 3:30am so I could make it back to my hotel to Skype into my family’s Christmas Eve Party back in Chicago.
The entire time on the video chat my mom kept asking me if I was OK, to which I kept having to say I’m fine just drunk. And that it was the middle of the night where I was. And that yes I was in bed because I was in a hotel and bed was the only place for me to call from.
I woke up on Christmas morning in Hoi An entirely too early after going to bed entirely too late. Matilda and I headed back to the bar from the night before where we were supposed to meet the Brits for lunch at noon. We managed to run into Augustine, the Canadian girl we had met, but two hours later and one chocolate cake and one chocolate coffee later they still hadn’t shown up.
So we walked around Hoi An, found a pharmacy for Augustine, visited a temple, ate some fish, avoided running into the weird Israeli man from the night before.
That night we were still exhausted but wanted to still go out. So Matilda and I hit the bar, got a beer, got some dinner, chatted with another Brit.
It was the first time I’ve ever spent Christmas away from home. And it was weird not just being away but being away in a country where Christmas isn’t really celebrated. At times I’d forget that it was even a holiday. But it was nice, at the same time, to know that no matter where you are in the world there are always people there for you. Like a hotel staff full of young girls who just want to make sure that all of the travelers away from home are having a good time. Like a Swedish girl who shares with you your unusual tradition. Like a tailor who wishes you a Merry Christmas even though she doesn’t celebrate it herself. Like British boys who will buy you a drink.
So Merry Christmas to my old friends and new, all over the world! I hope that you’ve had a wonderful holiday no matter where you celebrated!