05.05.2008 - 08.05.2008 35 °C
After a night trip on a 'sleeper' bus we arrive in Hoi An at 6 am. Hunted for accommodation for a while and eventually find a place with a pool. Gaz lazes in the pool for a few hours then its nap time. The Irish were supposed to be in Danang but have ended up in Hoi An, in the same hotel again!! We meet some more Irish and head out for a beer and some food. We meet even more Irish, and they join us (Gaz and Shaz the collectors of the Irish - 6 at this point).
Hoi An has a few special dishes you can only get here. We find a nice restaurant and try some Chau Lao, white rose and local wantons. Chau Lao and wontons are great!!! We find a good place with cheap beer and settle in for a few. A little Vietnamese man tells us of his great bar with free drinks so we head over there. It was definitely “less the grand” (after hanging with lots of Irish you start to talk like them) especially since there are no free drinks - why do we continue to believe people that are selling stuff?? But we stay for a couple and leave at about 2. We had to go through the market on the way home and are pretty sure we will be mugged but as we walk through all the fishing boats are coming in so it is all action. To add to the relief a local shows us around - you have never seen so many fish!!! Sorting all the different squid, it was an amazing sight. We sit down with our new friend and have a coffee, tea, beer and a good old fashioned singalong - consisting of the one vietnamese song we know and a new one that didnt make much sense. We get a few sideways looks from the locals wondering why westerners are in the market at 2 am drinking coffee but it was great! (we curse the decision not to bring our camera out).
Next day we hire a bike and go exploring to the beach. For once we miss the tourist traps and find a beautiful beach with only 3 others on it for as far as we could see.
We are loving Hoi An and could picture us staying here for a long long time. It is a lovely old town which goes at a very slow pace - in the four days we were there we probably saw 3 cars in total and as many push-bikes as motorbikes. Shaz loves the push-bikes everyone looks so elegant in there sit up straight lady bikes. There are lots of art shops but many more tailors - this is 'The Place' to get your clothes made so we had to join in - damn shame We each got a suit made and Shaz got a dress as well - very happy with the end product after some miraculous alterations....
We signed up for a cooking class on our last day (as this also seems to be the 'foodie' capital). Course included a tour through the market with our chef who provided a running commentary on the different foods, a trip throuh a herb garden, boat trip, cooking demonstrations and then we are let loose. Great fun - especially mastering the rice paper making - will definitely be a dinner party trick when we get back to the real world. Was really more of a half day eating course than a cooking course as a four course lunch followed the cooking a sampling. Shaz thinks she would actually enjoy cooking if someone went before you and prepared everything and then cleaned it up after you.
Unfortunately, we only have 10 more days in SE Asia so have to move on.