30th Sept to 2nd Oct 2014
'Lets book another night!' Was the first thing we said as soon as we seen our suite at the 'Hoi An Trails' hotel. We were meant to be staying in Hoi An for two nights but the hotel was amazing and we weren't in a rush. We have been lucky that most of the hotels we have stayed in have been lovely, but we had really struck gold here. Trails is a 4 star hotel, 3km out of town. It's built like a resort and our suite was a walk amongst palm trees and lakes. We opened the door and were in an entrance area, to the left was a large bathroom with a separate bath and a walk in shower. In front of us was a massive kingsize bed in the middle of a high ceilinged room, complete with large vase ornaments everywhere. Then you carried on down a small set of steps and were in what I called my office. It had a sofa and table. From there you could walk out to our patio, which then could lead you over a bridge to the swimming pool. I spent some time lazing in the chairs at the patio, from there I could here the mooing of cows and quacks of what I would fined out were geese I would go a stroll to the side of our room and watch from the fence a field in which the geese strolled and the cows were dragged on a rope by a human. And all this for around £38 a night!
It was early evening by the time we had arrived from Hue, so we headed out for dinner, a place called Son, which was recommended by the hotel staff. It was just a 2 minute walk from the hotel. The food was really yummy. I had Cao Lau which is Hoi An's local dish. It was a broth with flat noodles, bean spouts, greens, and wafer thin, spicy pork. Shannon had curry in a hot pot and we had a few beers each followed by a banana split. The whole meal only cost us £6 which we think is the cheapest meal we have had, but probably not by much as Vietnam is really good value.
On the Tuesday we asked the receptionist where was good to get a tailor made suit. We had known since before we left home that we would get a suit made, and we had heard and read that Hoi An was the place to get it done. They recommended a shop called 'Be Be' and claimed it was the best.
So we took the hotels free shuttle into town and went into Be Be's. The staff were lovely and whisked us away to have one-to-ones. I looked over and seen Shannon nodding excitedly and realised I was excited too. Shannon had a lady called Raine who was even more excited than Shannon as she realised she was going to be making some money. My lady Hanh was very helpful and sweet and showed me different designs and asked what kind of suit I would like. I chose a blazer, trousers and a dress. My trousers and dress are very smart but it's my blazer I'm in love with. I chose purple silk for the inside lining of the black blazer, and I chose the same purple as piping along my pockets. I loved my uniform at Blue Islands and it had grey piping so I showed her a photo of what I wanted the pocket to be like. Shannon chose a smart fitted black jacket and trousers, and his blazer had burgundy silk lining inside. He had went there thinking he would get one or two shirts, at number 3 he was coaxed into get 4, then told if he bought 5 he'd get the 6th free. So he did. Like his suit, the shirts are made with the finest cashmere. His shirts come in black, blue, pink, green, white and navy. We were then both on our feet and being measured from neck to toe. A measurement was taken early few centimetres, including from belly button, under crotch to bum.
Throughout our stay in Hoi An we would go back again for our first fitting and then later for another fitting, then back the following day for the finished result. Shannon got his shirts taken in a bit to be more fitted, and I had several tweaks in my trousers as I was reminded I don't have a bum to fill it, and for my dress as I don't have much up top. But £400 later we are very satisfied with it, and it was such a cool experience being fitted and knowing that no one will have the same suits as us. Now just to work out when we will ever wear them!! And the small matter of how to fit them in our rucksacks!!
We spent the rest of our time in Hoi An visiting the historic town which is a Unesco world heritage site. You had to pay to visit the listed buildings (which goes towards the funding of preservation of architecture), so we bought our ticket and visited the Japanese Covered Bridge built in 1593 and the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation. We stopped at a cafe on the side of the river and had a 5000 dong beer. Equivalent to 14p.
The town is immensely pretty and atmospheric with small lanes, and many roads for pedestrians only. The buildings are not typical Vietnamese though and resembled more like an old Mexican town, the buildings were yellow and dirt orange colour. The river flowed though the middle and was so pretty at night when lanterns of various colours were strung from the trees, reflecting in the water.
Lonely Planet recommend 'Cargo Bar' as their top choice for dinner, so we headed there knowing we had to nab a table on the upper outside terrace. We succeeded where others soon didn't and then I spotted another table closer to the front with better views across the river. We moved and were waiting for our food to arrive in this restaurant which was super busy and had a waiting list for diners- so good choice I thought, but then- I caught Shannon staring at something with wide eyes. I turned around and took a few seconds to spot what he was looking at- a fat rat on the gutter! He took a second to heave his heavy ass off the drain pipe then he scurried away in the opposite direction of our food! We were a little perturbed, but then our dinner arrived and we forgot about Micky. Cargo has two menus one for Western food, so Shannon had divola pizza, and from the Vietnamese menu I had spicy beef curry in a coconut shell. It was then set fire to at the table for our enjoyment. Then we seen people with desserts and just had to get some! Shannon had a massive wedge of cheesecake and I had a huge mound of chocolate truffle. I think it's the best dessert I've ever had. (That I can think of).
There were a lot of people trying to sell everything from toys to boat rides, and then we seen people selling candle lanterns in coloured cardboard that you floated down the river. So for 50p we bought one and I dropped it in the water and made a wish. Don't know if you're meant to make a wish but I thought why not.
We then spent the rest of our stay sunbathing and cooling down in the swimming pool. We amused ourselves by timing how long we could hold our breaths underwater for. We both reached over 65 seconds.
I also had a full body massage in the spa at the hotel. I paid £9 for 60 minutes, and it was amazing and I felt super relaxed. I had every part of my body soothed and relaxed. I tried to get Shannon to have one after me, just to prove that not all massages want to make you cry. But he still wasn't feeling great, and that was after we visited a pharmacy stall just down from hotel. I also had been playing nurse as I had packed a very sufficient first aid kit before we left, but he really needed something stronger.
We booked to go to Nha Trang by sleeper bus on the Thursday evening and the hotel staff helped us book it. The staff were very sweet, just like Hanh my tailor whom had hugged me and sadly said that she didn't know when she'd ever see me again. She had also asked us to write a trip advisor review for Be Be's. The staff at the hotel also asked us if we could review the place and one girl also asked if I was on Facebook and gave me her email address.
After lazing at the pool after check out we grabbed some snacks for the journey and got a taxi to Hanh cafe where we would get picked up. (Cafe and tailor not same person). The man in the shop chatted to us and told us he had been in the army from 1968. He said he was lucky to come away with all his limbs, as most of his friends weren't so lucky. He then said he collects pens, and asked if we happened to have one, I wasn't going to give up my queeny pen although that would have been cool for him, so I got my Blue Islands pen and he was chuffed. Shan laughed and said it'd be funny if the pen ends up on the news or something one day.
Realising we hadn't eaten much today (due to Shan not thinking he could stomach anything) I took the chance to get some dinner, falling upon street food I got another Cau Lau for 60p. We walked round the corner to get the bus, at the same station where we got dropped off. The bus left late much to my annoyance as I couldn't see what was delaying us, the bus was there and so was everyone wishing to travel. Anyway- another sleeper bus, same concept, this bus however was a little scruffier and my seat kept reclining on its own. At a toilet stop after creeping up to the drivers panel and turning down his loud Vietnamese comedy show, we moved to the very back of the bus where there was move leg room and we could be together (aw) rather than across the aisle. Shannon along with everyone else were conked out by 1930. So I took this chance to update my blog.
Also just want to say that I loved Hoi An, and I would love to go back one day. And I'd love to see other people go even if if just for a few weeks holiday!
Shannon is radiating such heat from his body and I have no room to move, so I've whipped off my blanket and staring out at the dark roads and bright lights whizzing past whilst listing to the turned down tv show and counting if there's more bumps in the road that there are hoots of horns.
I'm sure he's turned the tv up, it's louder now. I can almost see everyone from here at the back and they're all asleep! Maybe it's to stop him from sleeping! Going to try sleep even though it's now only 2151......