Lets take this gig global!!
Xin chao folks!! Well, I'll continue where we left off....... It took us a while to find a hotel as they were all a little out of our price range but got a real nice one in the end and good value too called the Dai Long. We had a little stroll around and straight away it was inevitable that a lot of money could be spent here! Hoi An is famous for its tailored clothes and they can make absolutely anything, all in a matter of hours! The clothes shops just line the streets all wanting you to take a look. Most have Next and Debanams (spelling?) catalogues and you just flick through and pick out colours, styles, materials etc.. We managed to avoid spending on the first day tho and just took it all in. In the arvo the girls wanted to check out some more shops so I hired a bike and just cruised around. Agian super good fun and cycled for blimin' miles!! Made it down to the beach and was pleasantly surprised as it was another beauty! Got chatting to a few locals and hawkers (whose English was superb) which was cool as they were telling me about the history of Hoi An and how much it has changed through tourism. As the guide books say it is as pretty as a picture and take away the motorbikes and shops and you can imagine what it would have been like a hundred years ago but the only problem is that there are soooo many shops that imagining that is getting harder and harder! I find the best way is to just look up above the shops when walking around and take in the old buildings, then it is like an old French Village. Yesterday we again hired bikes and me, Fi and an American lady we've met called Suzie (really sound!) cruised around the Old Town to do the whole sight seeing stuff. The Old part is so old that the WHOLE town is a World Heritage Site!! We saw a few of the Pagodas and the Japenese Bridge but the best part was when we cycled over/through the bridge and were warped into the 'real' Hoi An. It was almost like there was a gate there where no more tourists were aloud through but we had somehow sneaked through the net! We cycled miles through little lanes watching the local people go about their daily duties and then out to the countryside and only saw about 2 foreigners!! Brilliant! Its good to get the 'strange' (what the hell are you?) looks from people again and a good sign that you are seeing the real Vietnam! There were loads of Art galleries around too and if I was on holiday not travelling I could have spent a fortune!! May have to try and re-inact them when I get back. In the afternoon we went to the orphanage for a few hours. The lady which runs it was really friendly and happy to welcome us in. There are over 70 children which live here ranging from 2 to 20. They also care for 25 handicapped children too. The disabled children (most from cerebral palsy) were difficult to interact with and did make me feel a little uncomfortable to be completely honest but I stuck it out with a big smile. We got to meet the other children who were either in classes or doing homework and helped them with their English exercises. Some of them could speak pretty well which was a surprise. Lucy, the qualified teacher shone through and soon had her own little class on the go!! while me and steve joked around with the boys and talked about football and stuff. Apparently some of the children who went there when they were younger are now in University which is a massive achievement and the resident cook grew up there as an orphan and now cooks and cares for the children herself!! Legend! So on the whole it was a really rewarding experience. Well, We were going to move on to Danang today but decided that we could stay and just have a chilled day. So thats our plans, maybe hit the beach later but trying to resist the shops! I've actually been good and only bought a pair of boardies for 40,000 VD/1.50- extortionate I know!! but the girls have spent loads on tops, dresses, bikinis and all sorts! I dont blame them tho, the choice is endless! Anyway, best be off. Have really enjoyed Hoi An but we catch the bus first thing in the morning to Danang where we fly back down to Ho Chi Minh before we head off to Cambodia. Than Biet! Dan