Colors of Hoi An V — The Story

Blue wall Hoi An Vietnam

Colors of Hoi An

This pho­to is part of “Col­ors of Hoi An” — a pho­tog­ra­phy project to high­light the bold col­ors of Hoi An, Viet­nam, jux­ta­posed with the dai­ly life of the locals. Click here to learn more about “Col­ors of Hoi An”.

I ride my bike around the town all day sell­ing sea snails.”

I sell snails almost every day. I have been sell­ing them for a few decades. At first, I start­ed with mus­sels. It has been more than 30 years. Now I most­ly just sell dif­fer­ent types of sea snails depend­ing on the season.”

This is a passed down job from my great grand­pa. Then I got mar­ried to my hus­band who had the same job. My hus­band buys and clean the snails. I cook and sell them.

This is a hard job! I have to stay up late. I’m not pass­ing this job down to my kids.”

Before, I did­n’t know which job to do, so I chose this one. Now my chil­dren have bet­ter jobs such as tai­lor­ing and shoe mak­ing. There are more jobs avail­able these days.”

In my sit­u­a­tion, you have to love what you do because you need to earn mon­ey for a living.”

5 or 6 years ago, there was a Viet Kieu (A Viet­namese liv­ing out­side of Viet­nam) who gave me $50 USD because he saw me work­ing hard on a hot after­noon. I thought it was $5 USD, so I gave it to my son when he asked. He said “Mom! It is $50 USD!”. I exchanged it for more than 1 mil­lion VND. I was so happy!”

Mai, 57

Hoi An, Vietnam

In the US this would be equiv­a­lent to giv­ing some­one about a $400-$500 tip (on the con­ser­v­a­tive side). For Mai, it was equiv­a­lent to a week’s worth of wages for her and her hus­band combined.


Discover more stories from ‘Colors of Hoi An’