Sunday, October 21, 2012

A day of shopping in Hoi An

Saturday today and our thoughts were certainly with Marika, Peter, Remus and Rafferty (and families) as Thomisina was laid to rest this morning. Thanks Nicola for going to the funeral on behalf of the Robertsons.

Up early to get the hotel shuttle bus in to Hoi An central. Our first stop was to a tailor where Russell got fitted and measured for some shirts. Not cheap as he has chosen good cotton. You do get what you pay for here. Wandered around after that buying a few things. Some cheap, others not, but things that what we wanted. I am into things that I will wear when I get home. Found this great bamboo clothing shop. It is great fabric to wear and the shirts were just the right cut for me.
We picked a nice looking place for lunch. Helen and I had Vietnamese pancakes which you wrapped up in some rice paper with green mango, cucumber and greens (watercress, mint and lettuce). Then dipped it in a satay sauce. Very tasty.
Further wandering around the streets. We were in the less busy areas today and it was much more peaceful and relaxing. The sellers were generally less aggressive in their selling. Found plenty of restaurants that would be ideal for dinner tonight.
It did get very hot in the narrow, old streets. It is a very pretty town. The shops/ houses are quite narrow, many on two levels, even the old buildings. It is a very clean town, probably because it's survival depends on tourism.
Time to head back to the hotel so we hailed the green taxi (as told to do by Huong). By this stage we were all pretty hot. Jump in the taxi, waiting while the driver is on the phone. Eventually he gets in and turns the air con on. At this stage we are trying to tell him he needs to turn the car on for it to be effective! Eventually he heads off after asking our destination. Traveling in first gear, he is on the two way radio while we are suggesting he could go a little faster. After a while, it became obvious this guy didn't have a clue where our hotel was! RR pulled out the map to show him. Oh yes now he knows. After going past the same place twice, a rice field in the central part of town that we had used as a location marker, we realized we had either the village idiot or the work experience kid! Got going a bit quicker, still laughing at this stage, but when he asked if we wanted to go shopping, he got a very loud and quick NO from 4 Epsomites. "Not happy Jan" at this point. I think he got the message and headed in the general direction. He did keep looking at RRs map just to make sure he was heading in the right direction. He did not get paid anymore than he should have for that journey.
Very nice to get into the pool after that. Pool water is tepid, but very pleasant.
Plenty of people swimming or around the pool but it is quite large. We wandered through to the beach and had a swim there too. Not quite as nice as Nha Trang but okay. Some fisherman were coming in their funny little boats. They had plenty of fish but they were all pretty small. Probably will become fish paste.

A tip for anyone wanting to invest some money. Bottled water is the way to go. Everybody drinks it here (perhaps some use roof run off) every street vendor sells it and waste bottles must be the biggest problem of disposal.
Just returned from dinner in town. It is a very pretty town at night particularly along the river. Lanterns aglow everywhere. Our restaurant over looked the river. Sending floating candles down the river is a night time activity. You float a candle and make a wish or something like that. It is probably just another successful marketing campaign. 10,000 dong for a candle. (50c). Naturally we contributed to the economy. Today is Mother's day here. Again a marketing campaign to promote flower sales (which are beautiful by the way).
We saw an incredible skill today. Women were embroidering a photo. From the photo, they sketched it onto material and then embroided it. They were stunning. From a distance, you were sure they were large photos. It was only on closer inspection that you could see the thread. Started at about $400. If I have won tattslotto tonight, I will go back and buy one tomorrow.
Headed back to catch the shuttle bus. A bit early so we thought we would try a taxi. Plenty of 6 seaters available. Asked the driver if he knew the Boutique Hotel. Showed him the map. When he turned the map upside down, we said no way. Waited for the shuttle instead and chatted to some of the many Australians in town tonight.

Sue Holland, can you ring Fran Sokel and get her to sort out pennant presentation date at Bendigo for 2013. She needs to confirm date in Proshop/Bryan and then discuss with Irene Murdoch. Thanks. I cannot reply to emails at the moment.

Cheers. Hope you are enjoying reading about our travels.

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