Arrived in Hoi An on a sleeper bus (it was only a 4 hour journey) in the evening and found a hotel with no problems. Vietnam is really cheap for really good hotel rooms. Once we were settled we went for a wonder to get our bearings a bit. The town was beautiful, its a world cultural heritage site and we could certainly see why, with narrow streets intertwinding in the old town and the architecture had a combination of French, Japanese and Vietnemese feel to it, it was like no where we had seen before. Somehow the town managed to escape any damage during the French and American wars and its charming 200 year old wooden fronted houses really gave the town a great feel to it. The other great feature of Hoi An was the shopping, their were tailors and art shops everywhere. We were enticed straight away at looking at the art work, although neither of us could decide on a particular style so we just browsed. It was the perfect place to just wonder.
On our first full day in Hoi An it was really sunny ( a nice change). We decided to follow the lonely planets walking tour around the old city to get an even better feel for the place, although we were already loving it. The walk involved going to a few museums that were inside 200 year old buildings. a few temples and taking in all the different architecture and general ambiance of the town. It was a great day, we even visited an old man called Mr Dong's house. The house was the original building and had its original furniture in from the early 1900's, it was all made of teak with mother of pearl in. This was an experience as the house had been in his family for generations and he had kept it in a typical vietnemese style including the bed. This was the most interesting piece of furniture as it just looked like a huge solid table, he told us that all the generations of his family had slept on this table and him and his wife still do, with no blankets underneath them only one on top....very uncomfortable!!!!! It does explain why Vietnemese can seem to sleep anywhere though if thats what they are used to! Matthew had to lower the tone and asked him if it was getting hard on his knees now he was older....the poor man just laughed!
Our next stop was a local arts and crafts centre where we could see locals making light shades, carving wooden Buddha's and painting. It was while we were here that we came across a painting that we both actually liked, it needed a bit of touching up where it had got a bit dusty and it was a lot more expensive than any of the other paintings we had seen, so we decided not to buy it and to keep on looking. We then went to watch a local cultural music and dance performance. The music wasn't that great, although they played some really strange looking instruments, but the dancing and acting was certainly amusing. The rest of our first day was taking up by us looking for a painting we both liked as we decided that we loved Hoi An so much we wanted something to remind ous of the place. I never realised how hard choosing art work was with someone else, it was a bit of a nightmare as neither of us could decide on a particular style never mind the same painting! In the end we went back to the craft centre and bought the painting we had seen there!
Once we had bought the painting we were in the mood for more shopping, so we both decided to get coats made to measure for the winter when we get home. It took Matthew ages to decide on what material he wanted, but both coats look really good and are a perfect fit ( Yes Matthews hood has been made smaller). They were really cheap as well, in fact the coats were cheaper than the postage home. 70 quid in total....bargain as Matthew would probably spend 3 times that on a coat of his own. So the coats and painting are on a boat on the way home to mum and dad Pearson as we speak.
The next morning Matthew decided to have a shave, yes i said a shave, he is averaging about 1 every 2 months at the moment. This turned into a bit of a fiasco. We had both bought a cheap razor, it was ok for me but when Matthew was about a third way through his beard the razor stopped working. It looked like he had alepecia of the face, it was really patchy and he couldn't have left the room, so i was sent on a razor mission, this wasn't as easy as it sounds as all the shops seemed to just sell the cheap ones we already had. I got talking to one stall owner who said he had some Gillette ones as home, so i waited while he got on his motorbike to go home and back, when he returned he gave me his own razor and just changed the blade in front of me, somehow i didn't think Matthew would be too happy with that so i said no thanks and carried on with my mission. It took me bloody ages but eventually i found a Gillette razor with 2 extra blades, they cost me as much as they would have done in the UK but i needed them, or well Matthew did. I ran back to the hotel, to find that he had managed to complete his shave, so he didn't even use the bloody razors.
Next went on a tour to visit My Son. This is a world heritage site of listed ruins, the oldest in Vietnam. The site dates back to the 7th century and was considered a place for the gods all those years ago. This is the oldest site we have seen so far.
As we have said before, we hate tour groups, but it was the easiest was for us to get there. As it had been a glorious day the day before we had put all our clothes in for washing, including coats and jumpers as we thought we were safe, oh no, the weather is like english weather, very unpredictable, so it was raining. So there we were in short sleeved tops getting wet, while all of a sudden the rest of our tour group all appeared to be wearing jonny jackets ( so Matthew called them). They are a bit like brightly coloured bin liners! It waqs a real test not to get any of them in the photo's and Matthew was getting really pissed off with a man in a blue cagool who seemed intent on getting on most of our photo's.
All in all it was an interest but wet morning, so we were both glad to get back to the hotel to get dry, that afternoon we went in search for a bus to take us to Quang Ngai.