Hoi An, Hi Anne and tailors
02.07.2012 - 09.07.2012 31 °C
Day 277: Hoi An, Vietnam 02/07/2012
Another complimentary breakfast at the hotel, with me getting a beef noodle soup (good) and Gemma receiving a nice portion of dry bread and jam (not so good). Spend a little bit of time in the room watching the telly before we head out for a spot of lunch, thinking of trying the Why Not bar again. Despite having been there twice before, passing it at least fifteen times as we have walked around the town and it being literally round the corner from the hotel and with time being of the essence before our impending bus trip to Hoi An, we find ourselves hopelessly lost. We eventually plump for another place just down the road, watching the clock and panicking that our banana blossom salads would see us miss our coach and have to walk the couple of hundred miles down the coast to Hoi An.
We soon make it back to the hotel where, after panicking about missing the bus, we end up waiting about twenty minutes to be picked up. When we are summoned to the bus, Ruby the hotel manager and our bessie mate for the past two days, runs out to hug us goodbye. And so onto the bus, where the panic of being lost and potentially missing the bus subsides to the nervous energy of knowing an Evans family reunion is just a couple of hours away! We arrive in Hoi An a couple of hours later, where it is near impossible to get a taxi and seemingly more impossible to find the hotel we have been booked into. Eventually find the hotel, check in and they arrive. Gemma jumps out at Billy from around the corner of the corridor, leading to a manly scream from the little fella. It is great to see them again - travel tired Dave, Ozzy and the giddy younger sister, as well as the suave, sophisticated younger bro (haha he wishes) - and after a few drinks we skedaddle out for a bite to eat. We make it third time lucky in finding somewhere to eat, as the joys of being in a group sees us sit down at two places and leave without ordering. A nice dinner eventually ensues in Hoi An town, which is a lovely, decadent and atmospheric old place, full of history and street traders helpfully asking 'want buy something?'
Day 278: Hoi An, Vietnam 03/07/2012
Awoken at half seven by the annoying kid siblings. Make our way down to the small restaurant area and have a superb slap up breakfast - fresh baguettes, bacon, eggs, fruit and Vietnamese dishes. And unlimited portions (would love to say this was not abused but I can't). A morning round the pool follows under the intense coastal sun and very nice it is too. A bit of luxury for the world weary traveller goes a long way and despite being quite used to a bit of luxury recently, is of course much appreciated.
On Billy's instruction we head for lunch (he hates the two meals a day routine he normally 'endures' on holiday apparently). We take a stroll around the town, taking in as much history and culture as possible, supplemented by a few extortionate 4000 dong beers. Enough said I think. A decent day/evening follows and we have a great dinner, taking advantage of some generously priced set menus...
Day 279: Hoi An, Vietnam 04/07/2012
A similar morning to yesterday sees everybody take advantage of the incredible breakfast on offer at the Windbell Homestay. The one difference from yesterday is rather than knocking on each other's doors we utilise the latest in modern technology and ring each other from the in-room phones. Small things.
We are poolside for most of the day and enjoy a lunch of fresh, crusty, very generously filled baguettes (the French colonialism left some good points it seems) and then enjoy an afternoon in the town, with the sights, sounds and smells of Asia again capturing the imagination, for us not for the first time, but still so new to the rest of the rabble, making it doubly exhilarating. The girls find themselves in a tailor shop, which as will become apparent, sparks the beginning of a timeless love affair.
Another excellent dinner in the town - Hoi An is a culinary hotspot - before picking some drinks up from the old lady we have befriended up the road. These accompany an epic evening of Uno. Game after game in fact.
Day 279: Hoi An, Vietnam 05/07/2012
See yesterday morning. Repeat process. Take advantage of the 'unlimited' word printed on the menu. Boyz n the hood become boyz n the beach as me, Billy and the father head to the seaside, which is a short taxi ride away. A very hot morning at the beach, which is wide, sandy, clean and very pleasant. The water is a bit colder than we have been used to in the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean. We get back for lunch time, where the girls are still in the exact same position by the pool as when we left. Tough for some...
We head to the town for the afternoon again, where the girls coerce me into the tailor they have befriended and I end up being measured up for a suit. Another huge set menu is eaten by all, and before long me and my mummy are enquiring into having a cooking lesson in the kitchen at some point this week. The evening concludes with that age old tradition of making a six person bed up in the parents room, watching a film and duly all falling asleep.
Day 280: Hoi An, Vietnam 06/07/2012
The silence of the dawn is broken at six am as the local community coffee shop sets its speakers to loud and plays some seriously bad dance music to do the neighbourhood a favour and wake everyone up. Back to the beach for the boys after another decent breakfast and yesterday's formula is pretty much repeated. Upon our return myself and Billy are sent for baguettes for lunch and return with an epic lunch.
Back to the tailor's for the afternoon and the await the suit to be run up. Rosie picks up her bridesmaid's dress and looks stunning. Gemma is also up to something...We go for another great dinner in the town and before long me and Delia are enrolled in a cooking lesson for tomorrow morning. Bargain. The evening ends with some more Uno, a classic family game for people of all ages.
Day 281: Hoi An, Vietnam 07/07/2012
The usual drill at breakfast is followed by a stint in the kitchen for mother and me, who are the only people in the kitchen to enjoy becoming the proteges of the local celebrity chef. We learn some excellent dishes and before long have mastered the chilli, lemongrass and garlic fried fish in banana leaf, stir fried squid, wantons and our very own spring rolls. Every time I tried to make it look like I knew what I was doing, I managed to make it go horribly wrong. The lesson results in some special food we take back to share with our very 'special' buddies. This goes down a treat. The food that is, not this description of my family.
An afternoon at the pool goes swimmingly, with a couple of frosty ones to help while away the time. We make another quick visit by the tailor in the early evening, where some minor adjustments are made to my suit and whatever it is Gemma has been up to that requires such secrecy and mystique...an afternoon of hush hush secret missions. For some reason Billy is chosen to accompany G for THE dress fitting.
We have a couple of beers waiting for the bride and best man before we head for tea at the place I was very close to being offered the head chef position at earlier. We avoid the things on the menu that we made earlier. Billy takes us to his favourite bar in Hoi An, one he discovered during his previous visit to Hoi An, Why Not bar. Well, I can give you a hundred reasons why not. It's expensive, it's a decent hike out of the town centre, it's poor, it was completely dead, it was rubbish. I could go on. Cheers Billy.
Day 282: Hoi An, Vietnam 08/07/2012
Our last day in Hoi An is celebrated with a breakfast before we are straight up and out and about. The girls head to the tailor for some last minute minor details and a John Cena cinematic masterpiece. After a very brief swim we all decide to go and join the girls in town, which is easier said than done, as they are not where we expect them to be. We decide to take a minute and sit down for some very cheap drinks. We eventually find the girls after taking a detour down a few alleyways on Anne's instructions to get a 'new perspective' on the town. With the girls in tow we have some lunch where nine baguettes are devoured by six hungry people.
We make our way back to the hotel and pack our stuff ready for the journey down to Nha Trang tomorrow. We head for the last supper in Hoi An, a great place to visit and one to cherish for our time with the family. An early morning awaits so an early night entails.