Hey all hows life on the West side?
This time I bring news from a little place called Hoi An, which falls slap bang in the middle of Vietnam, a halfway point between Hanoi and Saigon. Once again due to the history and since it has been relatively well kept UNESCO has given it World Heritage status and added it to its never ending list of protected sites.
Before I even came here everybody I spoke to who had already traveled through Hoi An had nothing but praise. The place is like a wet girls dream, a place where you can have your own wardrobe TAILOR MADE to your liking at ridiculously low prices. This means if you want new shoes, a new shirt, a new dress (for girls obviously), new boxers, new trousers, a new overcoat, a new dinner coat, a normal coat, an entirely new suit, with a zip here, a flap there, a pocket on your shoulder, wooden buttons, green sleeves, a blue pocket, red silk lining...Its simply incredible the amount of choice you get: silk, linen, wool, cotton, thick, thin, red, black, green, yellow, blue, orange, gold, silver: you get the picture. (check out the
photos at the very bottom!)
It will all magically appear when you turn up 6 hours later! Just make sure you don't get too fat whilst traveling or it won't fit when you arrive back home.
Its hard though since in my opinion it has one of the best choices of food in S.E. Asia...Oh man, the croissants in the morning, the banana pancake here, the crispy noodles there, the odd noodle soup or grilled fish over a glass of red Dalat wine or a nice cold Saigon Bia...and lets not forget the amazingness of the White Rose (special wantons) and Cau Lai which are both the local specialties. Even the vietnamese coffee here tastes better...Just the thought of it makes me hungry....Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Italian...even the odd English breakfast if your desperate for some real fat can be easily found pretty just round the corner...
Whats more is the fact that a short 20 min bicycle ride (or 2 minute scooter ride) away is a perfectly formed white sand beach covered with palm trees and beautiful blue water. The view is spectacular, made even more so by the fact it was my first experience of a
beach in Asia in the 3 months I have been here. The only set backs I guess was the fact the weather wasn't as hot as I'd hoped since it is the beginning of the wet season, and the fact your constantly hassled by old women in Vietnamese carrying bucketfuls of crap. I mean lets face it, who wants toe nail clippers or a whistled fashioned from wood into the shape of a bird on the beach?? Get some real junk!!
We also rented a motorbike (man I love driving these 50cc scooters!) and traveled the 50 km to the critically acclaimed Mỹ Sơn Ruins. Basically if I read my guide book right, they date back to the 3rd century and the Mỹ Sơn complex has become one of the foremost temple complexes in Hinduism in S.E. Asia and more so in Vietnam. Something about it being the Vietnamese version of Angkor Wat...
And yeah I guess it IS nice, but unfortunately the monsoon rains meant by the time arrived we were soaking wet (motorbikes + rain = drenched!), and it continued raining all throughout the visit which meant walking around wearing flip flops in the mud was a
Made in Vietnam
Hoi An Cau Dai beach on the South China Sea...wonderful isn't it?
pretty difficult task. Also if I were to do it again I would have rented a guide, especially since we ended up wandering around aimlessly not really understanding anything past what our Hebrew Lonely Planet was telling us. Which really wasn't much.
As far as accommodation goes in Hoi An your pretty much spoilt for choice...and if we hadn't have got off the bus and been instantly excited by the woman who offered the cheapest room we would have been staying in the "Than Van" Hostel from day one.
Basically after we followed this Vietnamese woman down all the back alleys to the "Pho Tihn 1 Hotel" (or something like that) we were presented a room on the second floor which had all the pipes full of stinking dirty water from the rooms above being dumped in our bathroom. So we thought maybe 1 day here wont hurt since its so cheap...only after the third complaint the next day for having no hot water were we moved to another room complete with bad ventilation and morning after mouse droppings on the sheets....
Really though for that extra dollar we could have rented a room at the "Than Van Hostel"
from day one which came complete with a clean room, a swimming pool AND free internet...
Nevertheless I absolutely loved this place, there's just something about getting up in the afternoon to croissants and hot coffee in old colonial streets that will never get old....
Until the next time...
Peace and Love from Vietnam
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