We started early, at 6.30, with the breakfast buffet. The chef here does the best eggs benedict- so far our only concession to western food - and then there's the dumplings, the noodles and the fruit and Vietnamese yoghurt and today Geoff even tried the congee, a rice dish that our waitress told us is sure to fix any health problems that you have. There's so much to choose from that we have to have a game plan before we go down each morning!
|Its not going to be a good day for these chickens|
|Ride sharing - helmets worn by some adults but rarely by children|
|Nothing screams 'tourist' like foreigners in cone hats!|
There, our chef, Mr Happy, showed us how to make four traditional Vietnamese dishes; Goi Cuon (spring rolls), Banh Xeo (crepes) with Nuoc Leo dipping sauce, Sea food fried noodles and Grilled pork with noodles. And then we ate, and ate, and ate. All of this was washed down with endless glasses of passionfruit juice. Passionfruit is about $1 per kilo, so it is served with everything.
After the banquet we tried our hand at traditional fishing, in this case, hand lines thrown into a very small and enclosed pond of pretty tame fish. Everyone caught one and then we threw them back.
|Fanning the BBQ - as if wasn't hot enough already|
|Looking very pleased with his creation. I hope the thermie can reproduce this!|
|What a whopper!|
|Even Mr Happy tried his hand with a rod|
It was beyond us to imagine walking into town for our tailor's fittings so we lashed out and caught a taxi. Thankfully it was Sophie's shout because it cost $24 000 dong - about $1.40!
After a few days here I'm still lost but the others seem to be able to navigate from one seemingly identical street to the next so we were able to get from the Peace Tailor's to Little Angel fairly efficiently. We also found some free wifi to tap into so we could follow the last exciting quarter of the AFL Preliminary Final - Go Doggies! Hoi an is a labyrinth of streets and alleys all brimming with little shops and while we were looking for our planned dinner stop, we found a whole new part of the Old Town that we hadn't seen before. We crossed the Japanese covered bridge into a much more upmarket part of the city. The 'real' shops here sold exactly the same items as the ones that come out of cardboard boxes in the market but with higher price tags and less ambience, so we bought nothing.
As the night falls, the whole of Hoi an transforms into a party atmosphere with colourful lanterns swinging from the shops and the trees and families lining the riverbanks eating street food on plastic chairs and tables. The boats on the river are also lit by lanterns to create fairytale scene of light, accentuated by the tinkling sounds of the Vietnamese language.