Published: December 22nd 2006December 22nd 2006
For those of you who read yesterdays blog and were beginning to think "Oh no, poor Brian, sounds like he's having an awful time", well, today's so much better. Had a bit of a cold yesterday. Still feel a bit rough now, but I'm getting better. Too little sleep and too much fried food was wearing me down. I guess that's why I was a bit hacked off yesterday.
Today started well, with pancakes and then a trip on the front of a pedal trike/taxi thing (no idea what it's called!) to the train station. Thankfully I got over the whole tourettes thing and actually said "yes please!" with a smile when the guy asked if I wanted a lift.
The train ride from Hue (the e should have an accent, Mum, but I can't find one on this keyboard! It looks French!) to Da Nang was quite short - about 3 hrs. The trains here are very slow! But hey, it's beautiful scenery out both sides. THe coast on one side - palm trees, sand, sea, coastal villages and jungle, mountains, padi fields, villages etc out the other.
On the train I was sat with some Vietnamese
who were going down to Saigon to meet up with their family. They were very friendly and we chatted as best we could in basic English. It was easier than basic Vietnamese! For 40,000 dong, which if my maths is any good (many of yuo will know it's not!) is under 1.30GBP I got a ticket on a 3 hr train ride and lunch thrown in to the bargain. And I only bought it the day before travel - none of this buy weeks in advance rubbish!! Lol! Anyway, my friendly passengers helped explain what the dishes were as I picked up each one and looked confusedly at them. They also gave me some boiled eggs and slices of orange to enjoy. Not only that, when we were getting close to my stop, they translated the message that was being played through the tannoy. Well, at least, the important bit - i.e. Da Nang in 15 minutes.
From Da Nang I got a taxi to Hoi An, where I got dropped off at a Guest House I'd picked out of my travel guide. Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with my guide is it is quite out of
date now, so I told him the name of the guest house, I got dropped off there, only to find that this hotel has newly been built on a road that's not on my map and is number 3 of a chain of guest houses all by the same name. . . each one progressively more expensive than its predecessor!
(I tried to buy a new travel guide...the latest edition. I was just about to hand over my money when I realised the cover didn't quite look printed correctly. After taking off the wrapper and looking inside I realised that the printing was so bad that most of the maps were not legible...so I'm still travelling SE Asia like it was 2002!)
Thankfully found a cheaper guesthouse within my budget and was constantly asked if I wanted a suit. I soon realised that Hoi An is similar to Hue in the harassment stakes, but this time people don't want to offer you a ride anywhere (it's too small a place, everyone walks!) but they want you to come to their tailors!! Again, their marketing technique lures you into general conversation before BANG - "come see my friend, he's
a tailor", "You want to see my shop?". So this time, I had a plan. . . to stop lots of people begging me to come to their shop, maybe I'll go to one and spend lots of time choosing a suit, the material, getting measured up, etc. That way I can then walk round town tomorrow looking dandy in my finely crafted whistle (that's a suit!) and then when someone asks "Hello, where you from?" I can simply stand there and they'll realise that there's no point asking, cos I already have one!! Clever huh!? Not that it matters, cos tomorrow I'm off to My Son. Guess what tomorrow's blog title will be?
Well, as for Hoi An - it's a beautiful place, spoiled only by the new building work that's going on. There is a lot of rubble, scaffolding and half built buildings around ....but my favourite town in Vietnam so far. I've also had the tastiest meal here. The artwork is the most amazing I've seen in Asia too. There are so many art shops each with impressive paintings for sale. Sadly I don't actually possess any walls (not even one) to hang them on, so
There are plenty of tailors in Hoi An!
I guess there's not a lot of point me buying any. Very bright colours. Some might say Gaudy (not Gaudi)! But I like it.
Anyway, it's 17:30 here, it's getting dark already. I'd better be off to see what it's like lit up.