What a welcome! Drummers, flower garlands and a cheering crowd plus that all important first beer. It was quite an emotional experience and so good to see the Garmin crew who arrived just ahead of us. Unsurprisingly I've checked into a hotel and gone all out with a suite! Oh my God it is so good! That first shower was just amazing and I have a bed that would sleep 3!
We have been for a crew meal tonight which was delicious - traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The fact that we didn't know what we were ordering half the time was part of the fun!
The first couple of days has been a whirlwind of boat maintenance and boat victualling. I've moved to a beach hotel which is good. I think food is an important part of any journey and I'm trying to embrace the local cuisine and I must say it's pretty good. Breakfast is interesting with lots of noodles and soup. Last night I found a small Korean restaurant and had the most amazing spicy chicken. The only thing was they brought water and a small metal cup to the table - finger bowl or for drinking? I went with drink! Hopefully I didn't look too mad! Lunch is an easier option with lots of coffee shops and bistros. Dinner last night was steak and ribs but traditional food wins out for me.
A beautiful evening spent in the old city of Hoi An at the New Moon festival. People light candles with wishes and float them down the river. Absolutely stunning. The old town has many tailors shops where you can get made to measure clothing. If only I had more room in my luggage. I put a couple of wishes in the floating candles for family and dear friends (you know who you are). Another great meal and a couple of beers topped off a great evening.
The currency here is bonkers. Everything is in 1000's making me a millionaire! No coins is quite nice.
Prize giving was a night to remember. An amazing experience at a 5 star hotel. We were all treated like VIP's and we went up to receive our 3rd place pennant and trophy. What a moment! The evening then proceeded with a fantastic dinner and traditional dancers and music. The after party had been arranged at a beach side bar with free beer and more food. A swimming pool proved too tempting so we stripped off and led the way for a full on pool party! Almost everyone ended up in the water, clothes or not. It's amazing how your inhibitions subside after 4 weeks at sea and a few beers. Much fun was had by all although I was a bit soggy walking back to the hotel!
Lots of events coming up this week and then we sail in 4 days!
Part 2 to come.........