This time our sheets were filthy, we had cockroaches everywhere and had to chase up the carriage staff multiple times. Brad and I were OK as we had sarongs that we always have just in case, but our carriage companions were less than impressed and I think a little shocked! But it is Asia – and you do have to go with the flow. So a semi-sleepless night with multiple crawling incidents, we arrived in Danang. You can’t get a train straight to Hoi An so you go to Danang and get a bus from there.
Danang is the most “resorty” place in Vietnam. Think China beach or if you’re too young for that – its Bali 15 years ago. Big luxury resorts on the beach for the local and international tourists. Not for us, but very popular obviously.
Hoi Ann is about 30ks from Danang and is a river town (about 4kms up from the beach) that has an old quarter that is divine. Shops, tailers, restaurants and hawkers surround the river area and in the evening in particular it really comes alive. It's only small and our hotel was 400 metres from the old quarter so we were really close to the action. Great photo ops and nice weather made this one of the nicest places we visited.
Brad wanted to have a coat made so off we went. Now you know how you have something in your head and you explain it and they comprehend it and when you get it – it’s nothing like you imagined. Yup that’s Brad’s coat. The ugliest coat in the world but they did exactly what he asked so no bitching allowed.
But we have a base and we can work from there. It is ugly though so we will have our work cut out for us. I got 2 pairs of long boots made. I can never buy boots here as they are never long enough or wide enough for my gumby feet so I took my photo and went to a boot maker. I was only going to get one but at $60USD each (did I mention they are boots custom made for me) I splurged and got 2. One black and one brown.
The entire way around Cambodia we heard the “same same but different” quote. Loosely translated it means that goods, services or whatever you are searching for can be found, traded or purchased and while they may not be exactly what you were after they are “same same but different.” This MUST be applied to Vietnam too. My boots are slightly different to my picture but of course, same same but different. So you get what you pay for it seems but they are so minisculely different that it doesn’t matter. You learn to assume nothing, and go over every single detail as if your life depended on it. Cause if you don’t – you get same same but different. And don't accept it. Say no that's not how I want it or you will get it and they will make you pay.
So one ugly coat and two pairs of "close to what I wanted" later our shopping is done!
We did another cycling tour of the back waters of Hoi An which was great. Rice paddies, locals, bullocks, cemeteries and riverside vista’s made all the more lovely by the fresh air and pedal power. A great way to spend the afternoon.
We were having lunch at the nunnery and one of the young girls asked us if we were going to stay up for NYE. What am I 100???? I think she got the message from the look on my face. Poor thing and I am sorry for the brash and immediate reation Hanna, but lets face it you asked for it!
Paige and Laura were having dinner with Nic and Adam who were with us in Cambo but decided to do Vietnam on their own – top guys actually, so we head out on our own (as no-one had invited us to join them clearly as we were so old and stodgy). We were wandering looking for somewhere nice to start the evening & who should we encounter but the girls on our trip. I think they were feeling slightly sore about the “staying up” comment so invited us to join them. Which we did. Paige and Laura soon appeared to eat with us and we had a great dinner & drinks. We wanted to catch up with the boys again so we left with P & L to go and have some drinks with the guys.
Nics bro lost his iPhone.
We ended up in the street singing with a bunch of Italians what from memory was the world cup song at midnight.
Got pancakes and cocktails at some little food joint at around 1am and staggered home about 2.45.
P & L rocked in about 3.30 I think and what a surprise - all the “party” girls were home in bed before midnight.
Hmmmm…. Maybe next year girls!
- If you are getting clothes made: insist on what you want. We started "Same or NO!" No Same Same but different. Be really clear up front you want it identical to your picture or you don't want it at all.
- Price isn't everything - ensure you are getting a decent tailor. We stopped people leaving the shops with bags and asked them if they were happy until we found someone.
- Get out on the cycles. Its great fun and the beach isn't far away.
- Check your push bike out thoroughly for condition and safety before you leave the shop.
- Don't rush. Sitting by the river on dusk drinking beers and ordering seafood is sublime.
- Great place for local Vietnamese handicrafts