Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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Hoi An

We headed to Hoi An on the promise of the hotel having a swimming pool - god let’s hope there is water in it! I don’t think it’s possible to acclimatise to 35 degree heat with this humidity, although the females here amaze me in their hats, face masks, socks, trousers and jerseys. 

Another friendly hotel, over 430 reviews on trip advisor gave it an avarge of 4.5/5. The Reception girls loved Liam. Most of the Vietnamese girls would stare asking how old he is. “Very handsome” they would say “Take after his father”. “Hello I am standing here – can you see me - hello!” Many times motorbikes would pull up and ask Carl if he was interested in “Sexy Young Lady”. They did not seem to notice Old Lady standing behind him, or …. maybe they did? But of course he would reply “No thank you, I already have one” – Yeh Right! 

They did not have a suite so Liam had booked the family room, being the most expensive in the hotel. The girls think this is so funny, single man taking the family room, it made them giggle all the time. They say “next time 
we ask if man have family before we book” “next time you come back with your wife and children”. They did not quite get the concept of having the best room cos you could, and not cos you needed it. 

Hoi An ancient town is beautiful, a river lined on both sides with bars and restaurants, with a bridge that sparkles at night with lanterns and lights. Boat owners calling to you to take a ride down the river; cyclo drivers asleep in their bicycle carts in the heat; and the local market smelly and hot selling souvenirs, seafood and meat. 

More restaurants, bars and souvenir shops line the back alleyways with all the concrete buildings in the town being the same orangey colour. At night they would close off the middle of the ancient town to motorbikes and cars, so it was peaceful (except for the touts). It’s a complete tourist town. Last time we were here they had terrible floods, we had stayed 2 kms from the river and the flood waters on our street was up to our chest on the road, the tourists left hotel reception by boat. 

We took a bicycle ride 
tour, it was fantastic - we could not believe we were riding a bicycle in Vietnam traffic. We biked down lanes of houses, agriculture, rice paddies, swam at beautiful beach, tried some local home cooked food and got a foot massage – it was fun, although they did manage to lose me, Liam and 2 others for a while. They sent a non-English speaking guide to find us, so it took him 4 return trips until we worked out we had to follow him! Love of Life Water concerto tour – NZ$25 each for 7 hours and you get a bicycle with basket and bell – very cool. 

It gave us the confidence to hire some bikes and ride ourselves to the beach the next day, WOW the beaches are beautiful and no rubbish, crystal clear water. There are cafes all along the beach, well tables, chairs and a type of constructed kitchen - they look after your bikes and you get to lie on their sun loungers and swim in the beach in the hope you will buy drinks and food from them. 

One tout sat and chatted to Carl as Liam and I swam and explained 
that they buy a license and they get a different area of the beach every 2 days. They had same bracelets I bought in Fiji, made of shell – but I am sure made from plastic. Years ago the touts sold the local wares, but not now all mass produced by the looks. Probably all made in china. Liam chatted to the café owner and he said pays $1m dong (US$100) per month to lease his area of beach, and whilst tourists are his customers by the day, it’s the locals by night. 

Vietnamese girls are so thin and tiny, we felt like white giants next to them. I reckon a man could put his hands around their waste and fingers would meet. A few old men hanging around as well, did not see anything, but every room had the rules which included “no prostitutes allowed in room”. 

There were heaps of shoes and handbag shops, shame no room and little spending money. Liam got a pair of leather sandals made in 24 hours for US$25. On Mothers Days we had a facial and went out to dinner and Liam treated me to some OZ wine – not
affordable on our budget and definitely missed. One night we found a glass of NZ Pinot Gris – fantastic - but it did cost NZ$12. 

I have uploaded a couple of small videos, unfortunately others are too large. 

Accommodation Good clean rooms. What surprised us was each room had a PC, which was good cos I am starting 2 think we should have brought 2 netbooks! Also a vase of roses- see pic of the swan towels. But the godsend was the swimming pool. 

Then we flew to Nha Trang…..back to the beach….

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