Glad to once again be out of the hustle and bustle of the city and even better than that we are heading to the beach!!!
The bus journey was a five hours along the twisty costal roads the scenery was absolutely stunning, to the extent that I’m not sure my photography will do it justice! Our first ‘happy house’ (SE Asian word for toilet – I think my happy house/rave dance every time it is mentioned may be wearing thin!) stop was a bar on a stretch of stunning beach with pure white sand and stunning warm blue water, I could have easily stayed there. I got a little too excited about the sea & a big wave got me so I had to sit on the coach with wet shorts, well worth it though!
The next stop was just up the coast, high in the mountains on a ridge between two coast, an ex US military post. Aside from the drab concrete buildings strewn with bullet holes it was a beautiful spot with the coast on either side of the ridge with gorgeous deep blue skies and the clouds running over the ridge at ground level like dry ice, truly spectacularly
We had about twenty stops, the five hour drive could easily have been 2hours had we not stopped as quite as much! Anyway the next was at a crafts factory/shop, I think the tour guide got pissed off when I told her that none of us were getting off as we had no need or want for marble trinkets and we just wanted to get to Hoi An! Slightly disgruntled we left and arrived in Hoi An about 45 minutes later.
The town is split in two, the beach and then a long road running in land alongside a network of rivers to the ancient town. Our hotel was on the main road about 15 minute walk from either, still it had a pool! The ancient town in Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which you are supposed to pay to get in to. I went in but I wasn’t going to pay! I heard previously that only tour groups get charged. So I yet again pissed off our tour guide and I told her we were not going in as a group! We all visited individually and for free! It’s a bloody farce they only check big groups and they don’t give you a ticket so if they believe you when you say I paid yesterday, you don’t pay??? Anyway, the Ancient town is very picturesque, lots of old eclectic architecture. The main street has been turned in to a Disney shopping village, but if you stray off in to the back streets there are local barbers, fishermen’s’ houses and little cafes selling sugar cane juice. It was very tranquil, mainly as there were no cars, the brightly colored buildings and abundance of water made it feel very Mediterranean.
The beach was equally as beautiful, we all got a little sun burnt and it will come as no surprise to most of you that I burnt like a koi karp! Still most of us learnt our lesson and the factor 50 (only) was out in force from here on in.
That night we met up with Claire & Jaap who had both arrived a day after us, we had a couple of beers and headed to a beach party. There was a free bus and the promise of free shots and cheap cocktails so we went along! The beer was quite expensive so, we had a bit of scam going where we would go to the bar separately and tell them that our group of 16, 12, 14 whatever had just arrived and I was collecting their free shots rather than all descending on the bar at once. The half a dozen or so offenders (me included) must have got away with about eight trays of shots! We then also worked out that if you complained to different waiters about the strength of your cocktail they would reluctantly add more spirits to the bucket! If they want to be silly b*****s and charge excessive amounts for local beer, then we will of course play (and beat) them at their own game!
Needles to say there were a few monster hangovers the next morning (ok the bar staff got us with the hangover card!). We laid about all morning on the beach/by the pool, about 4pm when the sun was low in the sky and the air was a little less humid we embarked on a bike tour of the local area. The bikes were the usual bone shakers, the 5 mile route took its toll on them and us! Four of the bikes had came back broken missing pedals, seized gears etc. About halfway round we stopped to talk to a local fish/crab farmer, we had to walk across a bamboo bridge, which consisted of one length of bamboo and a rather dodgy hand rail. Poor old Isla fell in the water, it was only knee deep but it did stink! Of course I was filming, so I’ll pop it Facebook for her!
We’re heading further south to Nha Trang tomorrow, another coastal/beach town so it should be good fun.