I have finally gotten around to posting my photos of the sleepy town of Hoi An. Brad and I got a little bit trapped in this town and ended up staying a lot longer than we wanted. It wasn’t so much for the abundance of things to do here but more the charm of the clustered buildings throughout the town centre, the abundance of glowing lanterns on the river at night and our favorite lady who sold banana fritters at any time of the day and night.
Hoi An itself was definitely a big tourist destination but somehow you never felt too bombarded by the other tourists it was a nice mix of people and the streets never felt full, it was conservative and outgoing at the same time. Architecturally the town had this cross between French meets Mexican and to add to it there were chihuahua’s at every corner.
Lucky for us we will be back at christmas to meet with Brads parents maybe then I will get round to doing some of those tourist attractions on offer. /em>
Riding the trains in Vietnam was an adventure before the wheels had started turning. Boarding our train fifty minutes earlier than departure (a requirement) we made our way to our first class berth. We decided to indulge seeing as we would be on the train for fifteen hours. Entering our room we are greeted with a dusty compartment a few black hairs left behind from the last passengers and our two bottom bunks. Dust and hair aside there was still a beautiful nostalgia to the train. After settling in I get out my book to write and something catches the corner of my eye, I looked to see what it was and was unpleasantly surprised by a small mouse looking at me. The next fifteen minutes we spent trying to get the mouse out of our compartment but with no luck gave in. Alternatively we decided to purchase some beer at this point just in case sleep didn’t come easy. Finally the wheels start turning and we are off, brad and I, the two Vietnamese boys up top and the mouse beneath the beds.
Hanoi has been such a wonderful place to see and we were so lucky that we had the time to spend a week just taking in the daily runnings of this sleepy lakeside city.
After breakfast in the morning of chicken spicy soup Brad and I would wander the streets without much sense of direction or aim, just a backpack my camera and each other.
Every street and building held its own character and there was this striking beauty between the old and new, like the city itself was moving in complete equilibrium of its past and the present.
Our first few days we just observed mainly from pop up noodle bars on the street or the little unit across the street from our hotel that sold beers and snacks.
We got to know the family that worked in this unit and although we couldn’t speak to each other, by the end of our time the ladies would be requesting “Madame, Madame” if Brad ever sat down to have a beer without me. They loved Brad too but girls will always have different connections with each other.
We had two restaurants that we often had dinner at, that we became quite fond of. I’m not sure so much for the food but these two little kids that every day without doubt would be out on the street with no parents trying to sell chewing gum. The little boy was so fascinated in Brads beard and more than once tugged on it a little too hard, he couldn’t have been older than four and the girl maybe eight but she had matured far beyond her age and wouldn’t partake in any tickles or silly games. Needless to say Brad and I became quite avid chewing gum chewers over these nights.
Our last day we wandered further out and I’m not sure exactly where but the buildings were amazing, the streets wide and very European styled. I finally felt I had see all Hanoi had to offer but I would not pass up the opportunity to go there again, I’m not sure exactly what it was about the city but I absolutely loved every bit of it.
Because there was so much to see I have decided to split this post up into three; the streets, the food and the architecture.
The first one The Streets: From Viet Nam with love
Arriving in Thailand was like a breath of fresh air just the friendly smiles and humid weather alone, reassured us that Thailand was going to feel more like a holiday than ‘travel’.
We spent our first night in a hotel close to the city. Tired and weary from the chaos of South Korea, bus rides and flights we were struggling to get back up of the bed.
We found a little restaurant in the red light district (everywhere else was shut) and feasted on curries and salads, for how tired we were feeling we surprisingly drank and ate for hours before stumbling back home and crashing asleep.
Our first day in Bangkok and with limited time we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. By luck we ended up on a boat ride along the river, brought to the boat by tuk tuk we were greeted with smiles then loaded up with water, beer and fish food.
It appeared we had been taken to a not so popular dock as we were the only two on the boat, we couldn’t have been happier about the situation! As boats jammed packed rushed past us, tourists cranking over the edge to get photos, brad and I sat at the front beer in hand getting a chauffeur ride on the river. It was accidentally romantic and perfect.
The next morning we met up with my dad who has been living on and off in Thailand for the past three years. Like always my dad makes me feel so loved when I see him, a great big hug and brimming with excitement to see us both and get to spend some time together. On meeting my dad we also had the pleasure of meeting Oon, my dads new girlfriend. The long drive ahead was barely noticed, chatting nonstop all the way to Cha Am a luttle beachside town. It was so nice to see dad and to finally get to see his other life away from Australia.
Our first few days in our resort were spent sleeping, swimming and eating. It was great to not be moving for a while and I got lazier by the day. As days passed it became so apparent to me how in love my dad and Oon were, Brad and I looked boring compared to these two lovebirds and we always had this double date feeling when we were all together.
It makes me so happy to see my dad head over heels, he has always been a romantic at heart and affectionate but has never had someone to reciprocate those feelings or at least not that I witnessed growing up. My dad and Oon are constantly swooning over one another and completely content in their new found life together.
Although my mum was not on this trip I feel the same way for her new life also, currently living overseas with her bf Stephen and head over heels in love with each other. She finally has someone who loves her for her and support her dreams in life. So important.
It’s awfully relieving after witnessing all your life two very unhappy people who you love dearly finally get the love they deserve in life. Not just from family but from a partner to share the small things in life.
For the rest of our time in Cha Am we rode elephants and had the chance to see the bluest looking monkey around as well as a very cheeky Macaw. I keep trying to convince Brad we should put all our savings into one. We also went to the floating markets and spent a few hours walking around, eating fresh fruit and me being me, patting a large yellow python (next on my list of pets).
All in all…
Our days here were nice and long, skin kissed by sunshine and stroked with oil massages. A chance to get plump and be tipsy by the afternoon sunset. Like every place it’s sad to leave but always fitting when we do.
Surprise champagne and spa by B