23.08.2015 - 23.08.2015
Hoi An - Done. Or is it? I had such a nice time there that I didn't actually finish 'doing' all the touristy things. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or not.
I had been thinking about hiring a scooter but as my Homestay provided bicycles I decided to reacquaint myself with the art of riding a pushbike first as it's been a while! I had a shortish, hot ride along a pot holed lane onto the Main Street, where the roads improved but the traffic increased. Still nothing like as bad as Hanoi though, so I felt confident, even though it was dark. I found somewhere to have an amazing but very spicy meal and spotted the Deli/coffee shop that had been recommended to me, ready for the morning. I thought the whole place was smaller and much quieter than I was expecting and although there were lots of pretty lanterns lighting the street I can't say I understood what all the fuss was about.
The following day and Dingo Deli, with proper coffee was my first thought on waking. I carefully parked my bicycle and somehow managed to back up against a recently parked scooter burning the back of my leg in the process. The cafe gave me a cold flannel to put over it whilst I had my coffee and I assessed the damage. Whilst tending my bardie I discovered I hadn't really entered Han Oi proper the night before, I was still very much on its edge. I found out I needed to cross 5 sets of traffic lights and turn left (across all the traffic) to move into the old town proper. Ok I can do that I thought but had to go via the pharmacy for a burn plaster/dressing, apparently this is one of the most frequently requested items by tourists so at least I didn't feel quite so stupid, although I do think most people manage to burn themselves on their own bikes not by parking a pushbike! Anyway, I did eventually manage to find the town proper and arrived looking like I'd just stepped out of a bath and absolutely exhausted.
Wandering around the market along the waterfront trying to take in just how pretty the place is and ignore my throbbing leg, I was approached by a local lady. She came up close, pointed at my face, around my mouth area and stated in a very loud voice "you very hairy - come with me". What could I do? Before I knew it, an hour had passed and I'd had the whole of my face, Along with my legs, threaded. She was delighted and kept up a running commentary throughout. Who knew getting threaded could be so much fun
The rest of the day passed quickly and soon I was on my way back out of town, to have a shower, change ready for a night out with, Kate, Alice and James. We had a great evening swapping stories of our adventures and enjoyed an amazing meal in Mango Mango. Alice and James found the restaurant, which coincidently was another recommendation I'd received from O Delicis in Da Nang and it certainly was good. We continued on drinking after we finished and I caught a motorbike taxi home, singing to myself. Life is good
I remembered to set the alarm for the morning and my next adventure. Kate and I were meeting up to hire Scooters. So exciting. I figure if I've already had the burn I should at least drive one myself! It turned out, Kate had also never driven one herself, but always wanted to, so we were two novices together. I think the guy renting them to us was a bit spooked when he saw just how little knowledge we had. He ended up coming with us and putting petrol in them for us before escorting us up to the main (straight) road to Da Nang, and we were off! wow, wow, wow!!!!, how liberating, amazing and independent did we feel. I followed behind Kate who to be fair, took to the whole biker chick role much better than me. She dropped back at one stage to say, are you ok if we go a little faster? Of course... Argghhhhh, I'm flying! But it was fine. We had the best day ever, stopping and starting as we wished and doing the sights we wanted, at our own speed. Kate also managed to educate me somewhat on the undercurrents and the waves whilst we were having a paddle/swim in the beautiful and legendary China Beach. I even learnt how to go under one of the breaking waves rather than through it! All too soon it was over and time to head back. Handing bikes back, I felt a feeling of relief having survived the day in one piece but I'm sure it will remain a highlight of my trip.
Kate and I ate together this evening (another amazing meal) before meeting up with Ali and James again. I managed to miss meeting with Gio and Emilee which would have been nice but serves me right for not carrying my iPad with me. Still another nice evening and loose plans made for the following day. My last day in Hoi An, so I wanted to make sure I had some 'just mooching' time. Also Kate's last day as she was leaving at 5
I had such a nice and quiet, lazy last day - pure indulgence. I got up later and headed straight for the shopping area where I managed to buy more clothes than I needed and failed to get some that I should have, although, through no fault of my own I should say. To illustrate this same old problem. I took my top off to try a dress on and the lady exclaimed... Wow, big boobies!! If that wasn't enough she then Proceeded to poke at them saying, real?? Good job I'm not easily offended and could laugh along with her. But suffice to say, I never got a new bra or a new bikini so the hunt continues.
I stayed out until evening, chatting to locals whilst I drank in little roadside/riverside cafes and then headed towards home stopping at Dingo Deli for some lovely roasted vegetables and couscous, with real coffee. Here I met a mad Aussie, Cathy McConkey and spent a great few hours putting the world to rights and also convincing her (I hope) to catch me up for a week or two at some stage in my trip
Homestay, back to pack and all too soon morning and time for the airport run again. So, why did I not quite finish Hoi An then? I didn't visit the holy city, the temples, the craft demonstration, folk dances or even cycle in the local countryside, all of which were part of my plans. Worse than all of that, I failed to capture just how beautiful Hoi An is when it's lit up with thousands of paper lanterns at night. But at least I did see it and will never forget - so you will just have to go and see yourselves . Certainly recommended.
See you in HCMC/Saigon