Published: April 9th 2011August 28th 2010
Saturday, 28th August
We've had an epiphany. All this travelling is not the holiday it quite sounds, albeit it is far from being at work, so we are going to have one. This means slightly cutting short parts of our planned trip to have two weeks in Phuket. Beachy, hot Phuket. So today a bus. But no ordinary bus. A bus that won't leave until it is half full or more. Even if that means circling around town trying to round up stragglers who have never even heard of Hoi An. Despite all of the delays we still got to Hoi An by lunchtime.
Hoi An is the Liverpool Football Club of Vietnam, clinging to the past until its fingers go blue in a way that can only be described as 'charming'. Actually I like 'quaint'. It's effectively a map of little alleys and silk shops. Tons of them, all experts in whipping up a suit, dress, coat or shirt in a day at the cost of a football shirt back home. Half on one. And actually it doesn't take a day - book a bus for three hours away and it'll be delivered to your hotel in two. Don't
try buying shoes quickly though. Made to fit is strange for a Westerner.
After checking into another very reasonably priced hotel we hit out onto the town. There are sights to be seen aside from the endless shops. I think we are supposed to have paid to walk around the Old Town but I'll be buggered if we could find the ticket booth. Hayley fulfilled a lifelong dream and bought herself a kimono. As she selected a fetching dragon design I stood outside and watched as a huuuuuuge dog attacked a much smaller one, in its back end. The little one screamed and whimpered. This was brutal. And then, finished, it was stuck. Stuck fast. For a long time. As the big one moved the small one yelped. I left the horror having no idea if it was ever resolved or if one dog just walked backwards for the rest of its life.
Getting hassled here is about one hundred billionth of Hanoi but the odd inhabitant manages it. As we got the classic "come to my shop" line we fobbed the woman off with tales of a long bus and desperate need for food casually throwing in
One of the main streets
Really haven't done the place justice with this shot. Oh well. Watch Top Gear.
a "maybe later" knowing that the Vietnamese cant tell the difference between us and the next hapless tourist. FOUR hours later she caught us. Sh*t!!! Dragged us onto her moped for some very shaky (think Hayley has an inner ear problem) driving to her shop. Inside the shop the pressure cranked until our skulls cracked. Hesitation gets a bargain though. Physically leaving the shop to talk about it an even better one. Sunday, 29th August
Hoi An is limited by its size in what it has to offer. A trip 35km away into the jungle will remedy that. My Son (pronounced Mee Surn for all the cockneys reading this) is a Unesco Heritage site for what remains of the Cham Empire (how many blo**dy empires have there been here?). As a good friend of mine says - "this trip lays in ruins".
The Chams were an Indian culture of the 14th century. Their children were alcoholics. Get it yet? No? Oh well. This site was built as a place of religious significance, as always set in a ridiculously beautiful surrounding which somehow looks even better when it's overgrown. Mostly temples make up the site and are fading away
after 600 years of wear and tear. And a shed load of American bombs. Anybody sensing a consistent theme here?
My biggest problem here? Can't get a bl**dy photo without someone in it. If I want a Frenchman in my photo album I'll go to Paris. Lots of close-ups to avoid that problem. The statues were cool and we got to learn about Cham religion - loads of crossovers onto Hinduism and Buddhism - it's worth a trip.
Hayley went mental at me for paying a dollar for water.
In the afternoon we spotted our favourite Kiwis, Sam and Laura. Feeling naughty for purchasing 5 silk ties I found out these two spent $1,300 and subsequently felt like a d*ck. They bought ties, shirts, suits, coats and a suitcase to put it all in. They both just quit their jobs. We hit a local bar and shouted at tourists walking past in the same way the Vietnamese do. Did the Vietnamese find it funny? Not sure.
The biggest storm to date hit in the late afternoon. I am adamant lightning hit the hotel such was the loudness of the crack. Head splitting.
There are more photos below