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Published: February 24th 2016
A surprisingly good night's sleep, given that the mattress is like a table top and the pillow the size of a small postage stamp and filled with sand! Gill and I managed to acquire 2 mozzie bites each. Expecting more. And last night our neighbours, of some sort of Scandinavian origin, had a pile of screeching kids round outside on their veranda. It was fairly early but when they started jumping up and down on the furniture my love of small children temporarily left me and I banged hard in the window. It quietened down soon after.
As breakfast finished at the ridiculously early hour of 9am and we were keen for things not to have run out, we were there at 8. The resort isn't anything like full, so there are lots of places to sit, inside and out. We chose out. The last time breakfast was really good here, pho and an omelette/fried egg person making everything fresh, now it is all pre made and kept warm. OK though, reasonable bacon, the smallest pancakes in the world and plenty of fruit. The usual pointless bread and lots of jams/honey/stuff to go on it. Sign saying don't steal! We
didn't risk it, although we eat a tiny amount compared to what other people take and leave uneaten, eyes bigger than, etc!
As it was mega-early, we walked into town to look at the market. The whole way there are building projects underway, they are in the process of paving and it looks like planting on our side of the road. Sections are done, then you have to walk along the side of the road for a bit. Very labour-intensive, breaking up big stones with a hammer and chisel, all (men and women) in flipflops and conical hats. Health and safety, eat your heart out! It took about 20mins to get into town and I didn't recognise any of it. Starting at the end of our lane, everything has changed and to be honest, at the moment none of it is pretty. They are trying to make it smarter, but I liked it when it was just a scruffy road with lttle family businesses.
In town, we spotted where the motorbike guys were and then followed my nose to the bridge over the river. What a disappointment! It had been the maddest, ricketiest wooden thing made of planks.
Slightly disconcerting to walk over with all the bikes on it, but very photogenic. Now it has been replaced with a huge, modern concrete monstrosity, stores either side, much safer but very ugly and unadventurous. It didn't bounce at all! Loads of fishing boats on either side but we were too late to see their catches being unloaded. Turn left on the other side for the market. The meat stalls were at the bottom of the steps, best not speculate as it looked to me like a bunch of PAWS hanging up. Moving on......
The usual unhappy looking ducks and chickens having a bad day (Gill: Don't mention the chickens!), crabs, huge fish, delicious fruit and greens, all being bought by people who won't get off their scooters, so a lot of dodging about. We are taking up valuable space, obviously not going to buy anything, but smiling at them and looking interested means no problem taking photos. Back over the bridge to try to find Buddy Cafe, which I went to the last time, a nice place to hang out and chat to other travellers. Epic fail! Went down most of the little streets but not the right
It was quite hot so we thought transport was in order to get back, decided on 20,000 as the maximum to pay for a motorbike, and hey presto! This was the price they came up with when we showed them the hotel business card. Possibly they would have taken 15,000, but blow it, worth 60p not to walk. Gill's guy was teeny tiny and ancient, she could more or less see over his head! Dropped us at the end of the lane and we sat outside the Peach coffee shop and chatted to a Canadian guy who's been travelling for 4months. He recommended a good place to eat a few minutes down the main road, on the beach. Bought water and Christmas stocking fillers at the little shop, ever mindful of my little poppets, still loving a stocking at the ages of 28 and 31! To be fair, so do I!
Then to the beach, eating everything that we were offered. Actually, that wasn't very much. Nobody has tried to sell us any trips, sarongs, souvenirs, very peaceful. In the very warm sea, I did feel a few stingers, so there are some jellyfish around, but the
water isn't quite clear enou to see them easily. C'est la vie, which is pretty good right now! There is a massage lady resident on the beach, lies in her hammock until some trade rocks up, £4.50 for an hour. Gill waited until the security guard had gone away, as he hangs out with her (nothing actually for him to do here) and he is not a selling point!
After getting showered and missing the 15 second sunset, we trotted off to find the Phuong Binh House restaurant recommended by the Canadian we met at the coffee place. He was sketchy about distances, and I'd forgotten which resort it was near, but we had a card and I'd looked it up on Tripadvisor and saved a snapshot of the map. Foolproof! OK, not exactly. We got what looked like too far along the road, waved the card at a sweet little local family and they waved us further on. Round the bend, another crisis of confidence, went into a hotel and they guy checked on the Internet and said 1km further. By this time it was proper dark. Came out, checked the TA map, we'd oversho, it was down
the turning to the posh place Cassia Cottage, although I was surprised there was no sign on the main road. Down the track, past all the hotels, ended up going throug the grounds of the last one, got to the beach and there was no sign, so we trudged (no trotting possible on the sand) back to our hotel. Bah! Continues past the next hotel and found a restaurant on the beach, pretty but all westerners there and ridiculous prices, but we were desperate by this time. It was called Mai Spa, just next to the Orange Resort. Both ordered curry, mine was barracuda and Gill's wS red snapper, exactly the same description but nothing like. Mine was curry, Gill's was a fillet covered in crunchy bits, and as it was so dark she couldn't see if it was bones or peanuts! We complained that the description didn't fit, got a really garbled explanation and gave up. Learning curve: don't eat on the beach next to a big resort. Silly money! We googled the place we'd been heading for to find that both lots of locals were right, we gave up, too soon, and the TA map had given the
Crawled back, hoping that our neighbours won't have the screeching kids round again.
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