After a swift 4 hour bus journey we arrived fresh off the bus with no idea where we were going. A local lady jumped off her motorbike and walked with us, trying to sell us her families tailor shop; with heavy backpacks and numb legs from the Asian-people-sized bus we were not in the mood for a hard sales pitch and walked on to find our hostel. We checked into Green Field and it felt like a hotel, providing us with fresh yellow towels, a swimming pool, pool table and bar, not forgetting the cheap-as cafe over the road which served beer for 3000 dong per glass, that’s 9 English pence per beer!!
Hoi An was really pretty, possibly my favourite place in Vietnam, it is a small town where it appears customary to hang colourful lanterns outside each building, the cobbled streets were all colourful and every shop and cafe looked inviting. The canal which divided the town had large lotus flowers floating on it, which included light features come nighttime, it was a lovely walk in the evening. It was here I purchased a bowl, plate and chopsticks combination as a souvenir from my trip, I decided to send it home pretty pronto to avoid breaking it in my backpack. It was whilst posting this and other items home where I had a breakdown in the post office. It was a small matter of not being able to post my sisters birthday present home due to the battery in the watch affecting the plane. I got so frustrated that I just stood and cried in the middle of the post office, thinking to myself that the tiny battery in the watch would not bring down the plane as the post office worker said it would. Nonetheless it is now home and with my sister thanks to a visiting friend a few months later in Thailand.
I think Hoi An is best explored by bicycle, in order to do this we first needed to teach Roxanne, a fully grown 24 year old woman, how to ride a bike. Andrew and I acted as the doting parents holding her saddle and shouting encouragement, we were super proud as our girl peddled off alone down the road, and made it safety back up to us. Once she felt confident we peddled all around the town, looking at the shops, lanterns and admiring the Chinese temples. With us all now being confident bikers we decided to bike further down the river, to find the elusive ancient bridge which was one of the main attractions in the town, after going past an old rickety bridge and coming to the end of the path we were lost and confused, deciding to head back we realised the old rickety bridge was the main attraction. Feeling unimpressed we girls headed off to the tailors with heads full of ideas about what clothes we wanted to get made. After deciding on the tailors Mrs Forget Me Not we were swiftly measured, looking at hundreds of different materials and thinking ourselves budding fashion designers. Roxanne left with a silky black top and I with a flowery 2 piece ensemble.
The first evening was spent in the swimming pool soaking up the thunderstorm that poured down on us before meeting up with Cal, Dom and Katja, who had sped on to Hoi An ahead of us. We shared a dinner followed by a trip to the riverside bar called Infinity, which offered free rum and cokes between half 8 and half 11, and free shishas if you are in a group over 8 people (which we were), these drink offers led to a night of dancing in yet another dodgy Vietnamese nightclub called Volcano, where Andrew was subsequently offered a barman job, and we stumbled upon Englishman Marcus and his friends. It was here where I had my purse stolen, luckily there was not much money in there, but it contained my debit card and drivers license, I did not realise until the morning, when it was to late. I accepted most backpackers have something stolen at some point in their trip, and tried to not let it bother me, I was fortunate that I was with friends I had been travelling with for a while, who could lend me some money.
Hoi an was also home to one of my favourite meals whilst travelling, we had heard about this local back street cafe called Bale Well which just served spring rolls. We arrived fresh from the beach, covered in sand and ready for food. Within minutes of sitting down on the miniatures plastic chairs our table was full of salad, cooked chicken on a stick, spring roll rice papers, miniature springs rolls and vegetables. A lady who worked there speedily made us giant spring rolls, forced them into our hands and continued to make more, whenever a plate was running empty of food it was filled up again almost instantly. Within ten minutes we had eaten everything that had been thrown at us. Feeling dazed and confused about what had just happened we all just looked at each other, amazed at the amount of spring rolls we had just consumed. Our personal waitress was lovely and brought us out little mango and chocolate pudding pots to stuff us up even more.
The evening was not a busy one, we were unable to move far due to our giant dinner, we spent our final evening swimming in the pool through another thunderstorm, playing pool and drinking fresh tea, the next day bought another bus journey, as together Lauren, Lucie, Roxanne, Andrew and I headed for Nha Trang.