Vietnam Day 4: Hoi An

We had our delicious breakfast because how could you skip that?!

I had always planned to send the suit home (though I might have held some delusions of carrying it all the way and finding some reason to wear the coat), but I hadn’t figured out where I’d do that from. We asked our hotel and they were happy to arrange to have my suit and Chuck’s shirts sent home. Jimmy, the manager of the hotel said he would send us a link to pay for the cost, and take care of it. They had a reliable shipper they liked for it. I’m told it won’t cost that much, but I’m a bit worried about leaving my suit here with the cost completely unknown.

We checked out before our airport transfer was coming, and while we waited we filled out a popup xmas card that Chuck had bought the day before. And before we could leave they brought us a gift of Vietnamese coffee and along with their way of straining it. How is this a thing? As we walked to our car they crossed the street with us guiding us with the traffic. Above and beyond as always with this hotel. We’ll always remember Jimmy and Tracy.

Today we fly with VietJet, a Vietnamese budget airline. The flight wasn’t that bad, the legroom was better than many budget airlines. I really expected for the price to get a lot less than we go.

Da Nang airport felt like a clone of Hanoi airport visually. It wouldn’t surprise me with the suddenly explosion of growth here if they were designed by the same company around the same time. We had a transfer to our airport lined up which was great because the hotel wasn’t as close to Hoi An center as I expected, and down a tiny alley. I doubt a taxi would have an easy time finding it.

Our hotel wasn’t as nice as our last, but that was a very high bar to set. The service though was excellent. They let us check in early to 2 of the 3 rooms, so we went for a swim and left our stuff until we were back from town.

The pool was funny, all of the tiles were for some reason incredibly slick, and the water surprisingly cold. Like so cold it went beyond refreshing into uncomfortable and I don’t understand how it could be so cold, I don’t think the ambient air temperature got anywhere near the cold at night, it’s almost like its refrigerated, but I don’t see how! Maybe the water is from a well?

We set out looking for a restaurant called the Mermaid that was recommended by our Lonely Planet. It was going to be a short thing, but we walked quite a ways, and then past it. Asked for directions and then used google to find it. Only it wasn’t there. We asked around and they pointed to a building half torn down. Apparently they’re rebuilding it, even though right now is the high season. So we find the next one that sounds ok sorta nearby and keep walking. We ended up at Cargo Club which is more western, and although we still order mainly Viet food, the bill was impressive.

We decided to walk around town since we were already in the heart of it. Our first stop was the Japanese covered bridge build by Japanese immigrants in centuries past. While we were walking there a Chinese tourist all dressed up in Vietnamese clothes took a sly photo of me which was really weird… I wish I had my camera ready, I would have loved to have jokingly taken a photo of her to show her how weird that was.

The bridge itself was a lot smaller than I expected and not as well preserved as I’d hoped.

In Hoi An you buy an entrance ticket good for 5 historic sites in town, and going through the bridge was one of them, but we didn’t want to use an entry. We moved onto a Chinese community house, and then a local aristocrat’s house. Both were interesting, especially the local’s house which was done in a mix of Japense, Chinese, and Vietnamese styles which seemed appropriate given Hoi An’s history and mixing of peoples.

I think we were more than a bit underwhelmed and a bit worn out. It’s nice that we have most of tomorrow so we don’t feel quite the need to go so hard.

The town is seriously clogged with Chinese on package tours. Every few seconds you see a line of them going by on these pedirickshaws, 4/5ths of them looking bored. They seem for the most part on a strict schedule that has them going on a river tour them immediately into the rickshaws, and so on. Most of the other spots are a hodgepodge of various nationalities, but not many from China. It creates this odd dichotomy of them and everyone else that was really unusual.

We had wanted to see a show, and there was a theatre in town offering one every night at 5pm. We made sure to be there in time, but they weren’t open. Perplexed we returned back to our hotel. We caught a taxi once we were out of the worst of the town, showing the driver the card with the hotel address. It wasn’t very expensive and sure helped us keep from going too hard.

I’m starting to feel Jenn’s symptoms a bit, and crashed pretty hard at 7pm. Luckily, before we went to our rooms we organized our tour for the next morning to go on a cooking class. We’d decided what we wanted to do ahead of time, but hearing that Robyn’s family had done the same one really clinched it.

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