Friday, October 19, 2012

Off to Hoi an. Friday

As I write this, we are flying to Hoi an on the baby of the fleet of Vietnam Airlines. (yes I am offline in flight mode). This planes seats 68. A little noisy but comfortable. Cam Rahn (Nha Trang) airport was not air-conditioned upstairs in the departure lounge! Fortunately only 25 min. wait before a short bus ride out on the tarmac to our plane. As we taxied to the runway, it was amusing to look out the window and see the car in front of the plane with a sign on it's roof saying "follow me". The pilot did just that.
It was an interesting drive out to the airport, about 35 minute drive. We did this drive in the dark the other day. There are huge plans for development of several resorts. Some infrastructure has been completed. Nice roads and gardens into the beach off the airport freeway (we could see these well from the air), but no other development has been done. Not sure if they are going ahead or whether the GFC has brought things to a standstill.
It will be interesting to see how much development does take place over the next 10 years. It will be like the Gold Coast I think.
Last night (after quite a bit of communal investigation on Tripadvisor) we headed to a highly recommend restaurant called Lanterns. I'm sure everybody in the place had also read Tripadvisor as they were all tourists. A little bit dearer than the previous night, but pleasant. Food probably the best we have had so far. (General consensus). My pork cooked in a claypot was sensational. Helen's was very impressive- chicken served in a coconut.
On the matter of food, 5 out of 6 Epsomites are of the opinion that, whilst we buy the food here, we believe short term rental is a more apt description. H. seems to be the only one getting a longer lease (I'm sure you get my meaning). No real problems though.
On arrival at Danang Airport, Huong was waiting for us. About a 40 minute drive to Hoi An. One side of the road is filled with massive resorts on the beach for tourists, the other side is for the locals. The resorts own their strip of beach so the locals have no access and not allowed to use the beach.
We got checked into our hotel, then Huong took us into town (about 5 km). Taxi ride $5. He took us to a restaurant that was good and served traditional food. Probably getting some kickback but it was great food, very cold drinks and easy. It was already well after 3 so we were a bit peckish. Very impressed with the food. Hoi An is known for it's food.
Huong then pointed out a few suitable shops for tailored clothes etc. He then departed and we had a wander around the Old Quarter markets. Shops everywhere. The Old Quarter is quite pretty. Will have a better look tomorrow. At least we got a bit of a feel for the environment. There is a whole variety of clothing, shoes, bags, learher, etc for sale or to be made. That's not to mention the food that is available. The food market is not quite as inviting. It is alright eating it in a restaurant where you don't know where it is from or how it is prepared. I don't think I could buy at the market then cook it. Just not quite to our standards. I'm working on the saying "if you don't know, it won't hurt you".
Hoi An central is on the river, with many people living on the other side of the river. They have a good ferry system, scooters and bikes no problem. See photo.
I was amused with the sign inviting you to have your name written in Chinese. I thought we were in Vietnam! Imagine the interpretation when you got back home. Probably says sweet and sour pork instead of Leanne Robertson!
Caught a 6 seater taxi back then followed that with a swim in the pool. A couple of pre dinner drinks followed by a light dinner for tea in our rooms before we tackle another day on the streets of Hoi An.
Great to hear from you Carolyn. We wish you were here with us. I don't seem to be able to reply to emails at the moment for some technical reason. But keep letting me know what is happening in the land of Oz as I'm still receiving them. Bye for now.

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