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Vietnam - Hoi An 1 ("ancient" port town)

Written on: Tuesday March 17th, 2009

Our bus arrived at Ninh Binh to pick us up (the only Westerners on the bus) half an hour early, so it was a bit of a rush. It was a quarter to nine in the evening but already the other passengers were snoring loudly. We had to take our shoes off at the door, so at least it was cleanish. The fact it had arrived so early should have been a sign. It felt like we actually flew to Hue for the stop off at 8am before boarding the next bus for the 4 hour trip to Hoi An. For some reason we had a half hour break for a minight feast at 2 o'clock in the morning, and it was a balancing act to remain on the narrow bed!

It was an insight to wander through the alleys watching the locals eat, wash, sew, relax. Their homes are open,and there are pans of rice drying on the pavements for their home brewed rice wine. It was a bit tricky navigating the area with a map, however, as there had been an overhaul of the road names and layouts since our map had been printed (2007), a whole set of roads had completely disappeared! Apparently this happens every now and then!

The school children would ride two on a bicycle with both the rider and passenger sitting atop the back wheel pedalling to share the burden!

The old town has developed from an old trading port (15th to 19th centuries) which has had an influence on the buildings. We took a cookery course in one old building by the river, and learned how to cook six local dishes you might be lucky enough to try one day!

N.

(Vinh Huy Hotel - recommended)