Thursday, 8 May 2008

A Short Trip To Hoi An And Beyond

Having had a day in Hue, I got on the 8am bus to Hoi An and relaxed for the journey ahead. Thankfully, it wasn't a long one, it involved one stop (on a beach, finally!) to dip my feet in the water and take in the sun a bit. The weather was sweltering, in a good way, and had me grinning ear-to-ear with how much of an improvement it was on Hanoi. When I arrived in Hoi An, it was very much the same, heat shooting down from the sky, blue oceans above, and a long walk to find accommodation for the night, when we really should have taken the hotel we were dropped off at by the bus. Such is my reluctance and stubbornness that I refuse to go to the first place I find or one that I feel the driver or bus organiser may earn commission from.

Upon finding a hotel an hour later, exploration was on the cards! It's a vaguely quiet town, with lots of tailors for any clothes you may want (completely custom-made and fitted, of course) and plenty of restaurants should you feel the need to eat at a different place every meal, as I do. I mean, what's the point in visiting the same place again and again when you could be trying food from many different places? Unless that one place is very good or very cheap.

Myself and Emma met up with this girl Katie (from the US) she met in Hue in a bar, played a few games of pool and generally relaxed for the rest of the day until getting food over-looking the main square, where at night, it turns into a Vietnamese music platform for people to show their talents. It was just the right side of warm and couldn't have finished the day off any better.

I found out the next day that there's a beach nearby and should cost no more than 15,000 Dong to get there, in the region of 50p. But, if you're white, you get a different price - this involves you having to barter down closer to the local price - so I did that, coupled with some walking away when the motorbike taxi guys wouldn't budge from 30,000 Dong. After doing this with two of the bikers, one said 'okay okay! 15,000 is fine, let's go!' at last, and off we went. This was my first time on the back of a bike that isn't my father's - which I've only been on twice myself - and had me worrying slightly, due to the sheer quantity of potholes littering the road. Thankfully, I reached the beach unscathed, and can fully endorse the motorbike taxis as a cheap way to get from A to B. I didn't get into the sea, because I only had my normal clothes on me, but the beach itself was nice, although strange when you look at the people around you, as the Vietnamese don't bother with getting swimming trunks, shorts or anything like that, they go into the sea fully clothed. Much of this is to do with their skin colour, as unlike the west, where it's favourable and more attractive to look tanned, many Asian countries have the belief that looking as white as possible is more attractive, so you look more like a white person. This extends to suntan lotion, which you must be careful about due to some brands putting whitening in them, much like toothpaste! So instead of regulating the sun, you'll end up blocking it out and becoming whiter by the second!

The food on the beach-front at the many shack-like restaurants was decent, and I think it was here that I decided to become vegetarian, if only because some of the meat can seem a little dubious, but also to stop my belly getting any bigger than it already is. Their premium for having food on the beach wasn't too high, and certainly was appreciated where the town of Hoi An was about 5km back the other way.

Later on, I headed back, showered off and booked myself a night-bus for Nha Trang, despite my deep contempt for them due to the lack of sleep I have to endure on them.

1 comment:

Hemzzz said...

The weather is sounding lovely....although probably a tad hot for Hem...hmmm. It's really nice here at the moment too! Summer appears to have arrived in little ol' Ingerland. Ooooh.

I'm intrigued by the whitening lotion stuff....does that ACTUALLY make any difference? I really can't picture a load of people slapping it all on and lying around on the beach getting slowly paler heh. I think you should conduct an experiment into it. Find someone who hasn't used it....take a "before" pic and then errm...get them to use it. And record the progress!