Week 1…part 3 – Hoi An

So now it is exactly one week since we left the UK! We've already gone to 3 separate areas of Vietnam which seems like a bit of an achievement! We have now arrived in Hoi An which, by far, is my favourite place so far!

We took a night bus from Hanoi to get down here, which is a 563mile journey. It took us 18 hours! We'd managed to miss being able to get on an overnight train as they were all fully booked; however, there were spaces on the over night bus! What luck! Now, if any of you have been in an overnight bus in Asia, you'll know what I am talking about. If you haven't, just imagine the Harry Potter night bus but more run down! Especially imagine the speed and movement of the Harry Potter night bus!

I've stolen this picture from Google but this is pretty accurate! There are three seats squeezed in next to each other, then a small alleyway and then a single seat up against the window. So it's a bit cozy with strangers you have just met. Sadly for us, we couldn't sit together and Alex was relegated to the back of the bus where I had a front row view of the road ahead of us. Neither of us got much sleep, but for different reasons. Poor Alex was assaulted by the “aroma” of the onboard loo which, by the smell of it, had never been cleaned….ever. It was rank. I, on the other hand, was spared that horror, but was kept awake by the driving! On many occasions, I woke up to be faced with the headlighs of an HGV ploughing straight towards the front of our bus. The Vietnamese appear to have rather lax driving rules…apart from the rule that “you must always overtake whatever vehicle is in front of you. Regardless of if that vehicle is also overtaking or if there is oncoming traffic.” The other aspect of the journey that kept us awake most of the night was the incessant honking! Drivers here honk at vehicles in front of them…every vehicle that's in front of them. Every single one. Alex and I have concluded that its to let the person ahead know you're behind them. Why don't they use their wing mirrors or rear view mirror to glean that information themselves, you say? Don't be silly.

Long story short, however, we arrived in Hoi An which is a beautiful fishing town on an estuary river from the sea; therefore. It's a lot cooler (not that you'd guess it from the amount of sweating I am doing! My body is taking forever to get used to this humidity! Alex is faring a lot better than I am so far!) and calmer than the city. It's got some French influences by the look of things, as well as Chinese. We are both pretty enamoured with it here and have booked 4 nights so we can really get to spend time getting to know the town.

Last night we went to a stunning restaurant a little way out of the general hubbub of the town (a matter of only about 2 blocks distance!) which was recommended to us by a lady who works at our hotel. The setting was gorgeous and the food was delicious and easy on the wallet! We had a starter to share, a main each, a pudding to share and a big bottle of the local beer each….for £5 a head! This is their website http://www.orivy.com/introduction/gallery

Today, we had a lazy morning and then headed into town to get measured up for tailor-made clothes, which feels very decadent and exciting! For the price of a tailor-made suit in the UK, we've ordered 2 suits, 2 shirts, an overcoat and 2 dresses! The girls in the shop were absolutely sweet and really helpful! Also, super flirtatious with Alex who definitely caught their eye!
After freshening up this evening, we headed out to make the most of the “golden hour” and take a few photos. We didn't, however, bank on the fact it was rush hour and our previously sleepy town was transformed into a crush of mopeds, bikes and people. Luckily. It only lasted an hour or so and, by the time we'd wandered in and out if a few small temples, the streets were back to being predominantly pedestrianised!
We headed down to the Japanese pagoda bridge (which seems to be the biggest tourist trap here) which, although pretty, was less impressive than we'd been lead to believe so we havent got any photos to show you, unfortunately. In conjuncture to the bridge, there were numerous pedlars trying to flog paper lanterns to float into the river, as well as bars and restaurants clearly arrested toward tourists. I'd like to say we didn't get drawn in but there was a beautiful looking terrace which caught my eye and Alex was a gentleman and agreed to go there for dinner.
As we sat up there, we watched purple and black clouds pushing over the sunset as a storm rolled in from the sea. It was more than impressive to see lightning flashing in the distance as it heads in your direction! While we were eating, the heavens opened and we were ushered inside to watch people legging it to get out of the downpour! Very funny to watch…from a nice dry restaurant! Haha!
So that's it so far; we're here for the next few days and then will hopefully head out onto a motorbike tour down to Ho Chi Minh!
Milly x



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