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Published: January 17th 2020
We arrive in Hoi An after a gruelling 16hrs on an overnight train. This doesn't sound so bad in theory, 8hrs or so of that you're sleeping, then it's only an 8hr journey. The truth is, you're confined to an incredibly small bunk bed room with 3 other people and there's no where else you can hang out on the train, it starts to feel a bit like prison.
We arrive into Hoi An about 3pm, go for a swim in the pool and then wonder around town. Hoi An's known as the Lantern City - there's lanterns scattered across all the streets and it's truly a lovely place to wonder around. Add to that, there's a heavy French influence (probably from the war), so the architecture looks very Riviera looking. Lots of old yellow building's running through the old town and along the river. The photo's I've taken don't really show how pretty this city is.
I go and have dinner at a local place down a small alleyway. They can't speak a word of English (HOW DARE THESE PEASANTS NOT SPEAK THE QUEEN'S LANGUAGE) but thankfully there are pictures and I manage to order successfully. 2 plates of food cost me 40,000 Dong ($2.60). I'm really not feeling good, dizzy, sore stomach etc, so I end up going to bed early.
The following morning I'm a big sweaty sickly mess, but I take some pills, grab breakfast then go for a bike ride around town led by an incredibly slow peddling Manh. Somehow we lose 3/4 of the group within the first 5 minutes, so he's wound up tighter than Harry Redknap's arsehole when asked about tax fraud. The rest of the journey is somewhat of a pointless bike ride, but it's free and we see the city in a different way and stop at a Temple.
The next morning we go for a REAL bike ride with mountain bikes and a guide named Felix who rides the fucking speed limit. We get a boat across to a small community.
Our first stop is to a guy's place who was injured during the war, became an alcoholic and started making his own rice wine. At first he was just doing it to get wasted, but then his mate's would come around abs drink his booze and it was decent, so he made a living out of it. He has pigs (probably for eating) and feeds them the leftover rice/discarded veges etc and from there, he uses their poop as the gas to heat everything up for the rice making.
He's got several different flavours, various herbs, spices and a dead Cobra.
We have a few shots and then we're off to our next destination: Reed Mat maker's house.
They're a lovely couple who work together to make mats to sell to people. I have a go at splitting the reeds down the middle with a blade (harder than it looks) then another girl from the group and I work together to thread a few rows. Naturally, we're slow and pretty average at it, but it's a nifty thing to try.
Next stop is the rice noodle makers house. Here we cook our own noodles (very similar to when I made rice paper earlier in the trip) and then have them for lunch! The paste is WAY thicker so I don't make a dick of myself this time. I've done enough of that throughout my life, so why not do it a bit more.
Everyone in the group has a turn, so there's plenty to go around and it's real tasty.
That evening a few of us caught up for drinks. They have happy hour everywhere, so I was drinking 2x Cocktails for around $7. It became a messy night hahaha.
Next we're off to Hue! See you for the next edition then!
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