Oi! It’s Hoi An Innit?!
13th – 15th May 2012
Teasing you with my closing remarks that I was to experience Vietnamese transport at its worst, I hope you enjoyed reading about my time in Nha Trang!
Well, it all started that we were stuffed in on an totally overbooked bus. This mean I had to sleep in the aisle of the bus between John and Alannah. I couldn’t even lie down properly on my back as both Alannah’s and John’s seat sides were blocking my shoulders. This meant I had to sleep sideways. Not happy but willing to bear it, we were approached by the bus attendant. He wanted Alannah to move. Why? Because a local Vietnamese woman wanted to sleep above her and leave her very young brother under her seat in Alannah’s seat. As we all wanted to stay together, Alannah refused. We also pointed out that there were 2 seats further down next to each other. But the woman refused. The bus attendant got angry with Alannah and started slapping her leg. She was getting pissed off and kept her ground. Now he started on me. He wanted me to move and then leave the boy in between 2 strangers to him. I said no and they should move down to the 2 seats next to each other. He stared at me evilly. We didn’t get water from him as he clearly ignored us as he passed out the water but we weren’t too bothered as we had our own supply. The woman ended up having her brother on her lap in her seat. There were 2 seats together for the taking…
Taking a while to get to sleep, I finally drifted off in the darkest hours of the morning and was jolted awake when I felt my shoulder snap back from a punch. My head immediately went up to see what was happening and before I knew it, a fist landed on the side of my head snapping my head back. I punched out thinking I was being assaulted and felt my fist land on a shoulder pushing him back. I got up suddenly only to find the bus attendant lying in the other aisle. He meekly pointed at an empty seat. We must have stopped to drop off people in the middle of the night while I was asleep and he was merely waking me up to move…but by punching? I rounded on him and hissed at him why he didn’t just shake me. He looked really apologetic and I immediately pushed him out of my area down to the bus and told him to leave my things alone as he was touching them. He was scared oh yes. Never mess with the Rex.
Finally getting into Hoi An, we got off and met a really nice lady who was offering a place to stay. The price sounded reasonable and we went to check it out. It had its own swimming pool! we immediately took it, only because she wasn’t forceful at all and we were so relieved not to have taxi drivers inches from our face asking us do we want a taxi whilst we were putting on our bags and trying to find our bearings. Vietnamese transport people are the worst!
As it was still early in the morning, Alannah and I went to grab some brekkie at a local cafe and I had my first taste of Vietnamese Coffee. It’s astounding and very much so the bestest coffee I’ve ever had. I’m definitely buying some when I get back home.
Now what to do in Hoi An? Well, it’s a town full of tailors soooooooooo, what did I do? I got some suits made heehee. One of the suits I made was to my custom style. When I was growing up, my dad had this wicked safari suit he would wear when it was hot. He looked great in it and I wanted one when I was growing up but couldn’t find any in the shops. He got it when he was in Africa. So here’s my chance to get a suit made!
I also got 2 tailored shirts as well and one of them was made out of pure silk….woooooo.
After I got my measurements done and sent off to be made, I checked out the town with John. I really like the place as the architecture is beautiful. We visited a few shrines and temples and best yet, we had a lunch on a ramshackle boat eating Cai Lao, a nice noodle soup. Pretty neat.
Also, we had some street food on the side having spring rolls with some local Vietnamese women. I wanted one of their hats but her eyes told me different…maybe not!
In the evening, we checked out the river front. Well it’s all lit up beautifully at night and I spent the evening swinging my legs off the bank of the river watching the pretty lights whilst having a few slices of pizza shared out.
The next day, we went for a fitting of my suits. They were tight under my arms and needed more material on my back. My tailor said I had a big broad back and massive shoulders on a handsome boy…well…she’s just really stating the obvious there isn’t she? So off they went back to be adjusted. Where did we go next? To the beach!
I was a little sick of beaches as I have been to many in the last 2 weeks but as we cycled to the beach, I saw it had a certain charm. We spoke to one beach seller who taught us some Vietnamese words. I really liked the look of her chopsticks she was selling and she wouldn’t go down the price I was offering. Then I used my Vietnamese vocabulary I just learnt to deliver the killing blow. I told her with a sad face as she rejected my last offer that ‘I love you..’ she immediately laughed out so loud and started slapping my arm and went ‘ok.’ she offered me a price which was lower than her last offer but slightly higher than my last one. Deciding that I wouldn’t get anywhere else, I took it. The chopsticks would be a nice accompaniment for the tablecloth I bought for my Mum!
After chilling out on the beach, we noticed a restaurant suddenly sprang up around us. A few local Vietnamese women started laying down mats and went round taking orders. I was hungry so I ordered Chicken with Lemongrass and saw it was being cooked over a bonfire on the beach. Very nice. As I was handed it and I tasted it, I was stunned. This absolutely has to be the best food I’ve ever had in my time of travels. Seriously! It was so gorgeous that I had to take a picture to commemorate it. Obviously I have to be in the picture to help it look gorgeous…
Returning back to the hotel, we went back for another fitting and only one of my trousers needed lengthening to fit my lanky legs but everything else was spot on! Watch out for the next post to see pics of me in my suits!
Hoi An has been a total surprise for me. First impressions on arrival, I thought it would be boring and only would be here to get some suits made but the atmosphere really suited me. As I tucked into my meal at a riverside restaurant with some frenchies and Alannah and John, I wished I could have stayed a few more days but no…several trips and Hue awaited.
By the way, you definitely need to try ‘White Rose’ as an appetizer…it’s very interesting…
Did you get suits made in Hoi An?