Dec 25, 2013

Hoi An Layover

It's now Wednesday evening, the 18th. After a very solid 10 days on the road, it's time to kick back for a couple/few days. Hoi An seems like a good place to do that, so I put down some shallow roots...

The Cúa Đại Hotel (544 Duông Cúa Đại) was another suggestion. I got the to drop the room rate 10% to US$40 per night with the American/Vietnamese breakfast. This hotel room would be at least $125 in the States, and it's amazing how my perceptions of what I'm willing to pay for a room or a meal here have changed. It's like the road speeds… when I'm sailing along at 50 or 60 kph (30-36 mph), it feels like I'm really flying along! That's probably because of the road conditions, speed of other traffic, and the fact that on a level stretch after time to build up speed, my bike maxes out at about 72 kph (44mph) and I'm passing EVERYBODY!

Oh yeah, Hoi An...

The first thing I did after parking the bike was give my laundry to the front desk. At VND20,000 per kilo, I'll pay less than $.50 a pound. For that money, there's little to no chance I'm getting my hands wet :-)

A quick doffing of the riding gear and a change to sandals, and I'm off to explore... and hopefully find a shop to make warm gloves and a jacket liner.

At least 10 shops said no when I asked if they could make gloves. Then I ran across a woman with a very small shop who said she had an idea and would I please wait? Of course! She left her shop unattended, hopped on her bicycle, and rode off... after she held my hand against hers--hers were about half of my hands' size :-)

She returned shortly with what may have been the only fleece-lined gloves in Hoi An! I gladly paid her asking price of VND160,000 (how much is that in $US?) after an OJ-worthy dramatization of trying them on. I got them on, though if they shrink 1mm, they will have to be cut off.

I also tried to find some kind of kidney belt back brace, without success. Add that to the list of must-have on a trip like this--even if your back never hurt before.

The masseuses (three different in three evenings) were adequate, though the last one was the best. Her name is Bé and you can find her at the Hoa Cỏ Spa, 324 Nguyễn Duy Hiệu, Hoi An. She came highly recommended by the warm couple at the tour agency/motorcycle rental shop next to the hotel. A place worth checking into if you want to rent a motorbike in or take a tour from Hoi An.

Tom (how he says his name, though surely not how it's spelled) speaks excellent English. If you ask there I'm sure they will make the same recommendation. Bé's spa is a block or so from the hotel, and she even picked me up and dropped me off on her moped!

These were the highlights of my Hoi An experience... I mostly just wandered through the streets. Here are a few photos I took while there:
Street vendors
Bicycle Flower Vendor
Food Vendors and Theater
Tourist Boats

Motorcycle Water Crossing

Banana pancake (with a sliced banana inside!)

Banana Pancake Entrepreneur 

Night Street Scene

Lantern Shops

The Thu Bồn River

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