BootsnAll Travel Network

Hoi An, Vietnam

Saturday June 9th, 2007


The next morning we left at nine and headed to Hoi An.  It would take four hours straight but Andy had a few stops in mind along the way.  It actually could have taken three hours if we took the tunnel through the mountain, but Andy had said that the views from going up and around the mountain were breathtaking and worth going the extra hour for.  Well she was definitely right, driving along the coast was spectacular and I hope that the pictures came out as well as it looked.   Our first stop was a beach called Lang Co.  We could only see the water from a distance but up close it was remarkable.  The water was crystal clear, there were mountains to our left, and just stretch of beach with nobody around, tranquility at it’s best.  I snapped a few quick photos, changed in to my bathers and jumped right in.  Expecting the water to be cold, even though it was extremely hot out yet again, I was mistaken.  The water was like bath water almost.  It was incredibly warm.  Almost as warm at the water in Fiji, which was bath water.  We got to swim around for about thirty to forty minutes.  I was the first to get out and get some food.  This was also our food stop and we only had about an hour before we had to set off again.  I ordered some food and others followed.  The food was overpriced like usual at the beach or some hotel/tourist place.  Nonetheless I was hungry and forked out the extra cash.  I had just enough for the meal and the beer and got a “soda” for the road.  The rest of the drive was amazing.  Through the mountains, to the top, we stopped for some photos and to look around.  We were immediately bombarded by vendors and hawkers trying to sell us anything including their children.  We got back in to the van and continued our journey to Hoi An.  We arrived in Hoi An in the afternoon, to our hotel called Hai Au.  It looked nice and the best part was that it had a pool!  We hadn’t had a pool in one of our guesthouses/hotels yet.  Well the Grand Ville in Bangkok doesn’t count because it wasn’t really available when we got there and it cost 150 Baht to use!  This one was free and pretty nice.  When we arrived I decided to just hang out, go for a swim, enjoy the free wireless internet and meet the group at seven at the restaurant we had decided on.  Apparently Hoi An is quite strict with having a “Tour Leader” vs. a “Tour guide.”  It usually gets lost in translation and it is illegal to be a tour guide if you are not a national of Vietnam.  Andy told us because of this she would rarely be able to be seen with us in public for fear that she would be arrested for being a “tour guide,” and not a “tour leader,” which is what her job really is.


At around five pm I decided to take a walk around Hoi An.  For those who don’t know Hoi An, Vietnam is known for clothing.  Not off the rack stuff, by tailor made clothing, anything and everything you could possibly imagine they can make, and it is extremely cheap!  Quality varies depending on where you go, and unless you have a real good tip or recommendation as to where to go you just have to feel it out.  Along the way to the restaurant I had a notion of where to go.  It seemed pretty straight forward looking at the map and didn’t seem that confusing to get too.  Initially I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy any clothing or accessories when I was in Hoi An but that would quickly change.  I walked in to a few shops and did not like what I saw, they weren’t pressing me to shop, so they must have sized me up as not someone who wanted to buy anything.  I went in to one store and liked what I saw.  I asked the lady what they could do, how long it would take and how much.  The usual response was “Depends on how much you buy, when are you leaving and the more you buy the more cheap it is.”  I wanted some linen drawstring pants; crème colored and a shade of blue.  After bargaining the girl down to $9 for each pair, she measured me right up in like a minute and that was it.  She told me to come back the next day in the afternoon to pick them up and that was that.  While I was in the first shop where I bought the pants from I asked the lady if she had silk.  She showed me some fabric so I said “OK, burn it for me, let me see if it is real.”  Well she cut a piece off and started to burn it, the fabric melted.  If the fabric melts its fake!  Deb had taught me that a few days before this because I had brought up on the bus one day how to test if silk is fake after hearing about Hoi An.  She said that if the fabric melts its fake because silk is a natural fiber and because of that there is no chemical in the silk and it should burn and ash, not melt!  Well after the fabric melted I told her that this stuff was fake, she tried to convince me otherwise but all I said was “you just tested it for me and the fabric melted, come on now!”  Since I had already put the deposit down for the pants I couldn’t do much, but had faith that the pants would come out fine.


Before getting to the restaurant about two blocks away I walked in to another shop.  This time I was looking some type of shorts.  I was tired of the same old style so was interested in possibly getting a pair of ¾ length shorts made.  After flipping through a few catalogs I found one that I liked with the matching fabric, which was cotton.  We discussed how she was going to make them up, and then we settled the price.  I think I paid ten bucks or something, pretty inexpensive considering she was going to make them from scratch!


So after buying three pieces of clothing before even getting to the restaurant I had worked up an appetite and decided to make my way to the restaurant with a few minutes to spare.  I did not remember the name of the restaurant but just used my map and assumed that I would see someone in a restaurant and find the right one.  After making a few turns, walking for a while, I finally came to a restaurant and said to myself “This is probably it, it looks like a place that Andy would take us too,” and low and behold Andy was sitting right outside drinking a beer.  I was like “sweet,” she saw me, ordered me a beer and we started chatting and waited for the others.  The others arrived after a little while, then more people came who Deb and the girls had met and before you knew it there were like ten of us eating at this place.  Dinner took forever, the food was good, the beer was flowing, but the food took forever.  I ordered an appetizer, ate that quickly and waited for the main meal.  I waited and waited and waited, and finally it came.

After dinner was over and we settled the half a million dollar dong dinner, Andy had another place in mind.  The place offered half price cocktails till midnight.  At dinner we met three people on another Intrepid tour doing a fifteen day tour of Vietnam.  Their names were Joanne, Craig and Bobby.  Craig and Bobby (a girl) had come together and were boyfriend and girlfriend.  Joanne was an older lady who was traveling herself.  I started chatting it up with Bobby and Craig.  It is not everyday I get to chat with people under 30.  They were from Edmonton, Canada, Bobby was a nurse, Craig was in research and computer science.  The place Andy had taken us too was cool.  Nice bar, good music and the drinks were pretty cheap and good!  I started doing the two for ones with Elizabeth drinking Mojito’s.  They were freshly made the whole way through.  The juice was squeezed, the mint was freshly picked and the alcohol was local.  I had a few with Elizabeth and then apparently I wasn’t drinking fast enough because she started going 2 for 1 with Joanne.  So Bobby and I decided to do the 2 for 1 special on Mojito’s and we had a few rounds.  After that bar, the girls wanted to go dancing so Andy took us to a Salsa place a few blocks away over the river.

On the way I really had to go to the bathroom.  I asked Andy how far and she pointed to the building with all the lights, I said that’s pretty far, I’m going to go in the river, she was like just wait.  We stopped for a few minutes to wait for the others to catch up, apparently a few of the girls had been in the bathroom when we decided to leave.  I was like screw this, I gotta go, so I went in the perfectly good river.  Mid-urination this motorbike appears, I got a little nervous, and pinched it off (which is never good mid-urination) and then four guys on a motorbike appeared and said in English “Hey, you can’t pee in the river!”  I thought it was hilarious considering there were four of them on the motorbike telling me I couldn’t pee in the river!


We finally arrived at this pseudo Salsa club and nobody was there except two local girls sitting in the corner in a booth.  We decided to jazz the place up a bit, get some overpriced cocktails and beers (I had a corona), and got the DJ to put on some dance music and stop with the Salsa stuff.  We got some good tunes going and everyone started dancing.  We ended up partying it up at the bar/club till about 2am when Bobby, Craig and I said we wanted to go home.  Meredith followed us, she was miserable because she had wanted to go home at nine but we didn’t let her leave.  She always wants to go home early, big party pooper.


The next day like all the days in Hoi An would be free days, which I was looking forward too.  It would give me a chance to walk around on my own and do my own thing, explore Hoi An at my own pace and stuff.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *