June - July 2017
  • Day20

    Bangkok, a quiet ending

    July 10, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Sunday 9th July
    As we had to both check out of our hotel by noon and depart for the airport by 1, there were no activities planned for the morning. Sue & Peter went for a walk around the block, stopping for a (pretty average) cup of coffee before meeting Justin & Louisa for brunch. Nice food but as 1/2 of it took over 1 hour, wasn't that relaxing, Justin hadn't packed yet.
    We noticed that the street food stalls were already going despite not much early morning traffice. Most ofntheir customer were people in work clothes so i guess they were on their way to jobs. The massage ladies weren't out yet, probably work late in the night.
    Anyway that done we returned for our final packing, everyone wondering how heavy their bags were after a late surge in shopping. Louisa felt a bit cheated that she hadn't gone near her shopping quota and had too much air space in her bags.
    Today is also a religious day and tomorrow will be a public holiday, so many of the smaller shops are closing today and still a prohibition on grog sales, good thing we are leaving.
    The van to take us to the airport was early and with little traffic, we were at the airport within 1/2 hour. Just as well as that is when the chaos began.
    Had to use a check-in kiosk firstly which refused to recognise Therrie's passport and only printed 5 boarding passes and 2 baggage tags before shutting down, " Out of Service ". The airport was packed with families and tour groups so we had to line up with them to get our suitcases scanned, before we went to the check-in counter. Luckily the staff sorted our boarding pass & suitcases and we were off to immigration.
    This queue extended out into the main airport area and once inside wound through a series of switch-backs and alleys until we finally reached the immigration counter. Even tho it was so busy an there were no airport staff bossing people around, it was very orderly and courteous apart from the normal bump & pushing in.
    Finally through there and then relatively quick pass through security, all good although the small lady in front of me couldn't understand why they took her 15cm folding knife of her. I didn't wait around to see the outcome, but I guess not in her favour.
    We had time enough for a quick bite to eat, buy some water & a book to read and then we were boarding our 2nd last leg, Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur. Justin's magic is wearing off, but not totally, we are right down the back of the plane but luckily we had an empty middle seat between each pair.

    Good flight to KL, had to go through immigration & collect our bags, pretty quick, then we had 4 hours to kill before boarding. We took a punt on them opening the check-in gate early and were the 1st in line , just as well because by the time we had checked-in there were hundreds of people behind us. So we had enough time to have a walk around, get some dinner and prepare for the 8 hour flight home. Justin got excited to receive confirmation of split seating but his joy was short lived when we got to the gate only to be told that the plane was fully booked and no spare seats anywhere. Security was tight, checked our passports at check-in, before immigration, at immigration, before the boarding gate and at the boarding gate. Security screening after immigration and then again before the boarding gate. Feeling very secure but well interogated, we boarded and settled in for the night flight back to OZ.

    PS. Arrived in Sydney 1/2 hour early and quickly through immigration but had to wait ages for our bags.
    Then it was time to split up & farewell our travel group, Justin took a cab home, as did Therrie and a coughing & sneezing Ross, Sue & Peter had coffee with Louisa before catching train back to get their car and poor Louisa had to sit at the domestic terminal till 5pm when the Wagga flights got over the fog delays.

    Weather was overcast in Bangkok, very warm and humid but pleasant enough, about 32C
    In Sydney it was fine and cool, max of 16C
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  • Day19

    Bangkok - Markets & BBQ

    July 9, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Saturday 8th July
    Today is a special festival day in Thailand, a Buddhist Sabbath, to celebrate one of Buddha's sermons. I think there are plenty of special events at the temples and some of the shops are closed but everything else seems pretty much the same. Biggest issue for us is that all bars, restaurants & shops are not allowed to sell alcohol.
    After breakfast and dropping off some more laundry we jumped on our now familiar train, the underground this time, and headed off to the Jatujak Markets, supposedly one of the largest in the world. It is mostly undecover and many of the stalls are permanent. Can buy anything to furnish yourself, your house or business. Could easily spend 1/2 day wandering through the little alleys, weaving in and out. While it supposedly is set up in themed areas, there does not seem to be any pattern, there will be handcraft stall next to a massage stall next to a glassware stall next to an aromatherapy stall and so on. The range of quality also varies greatly, can buy really cheap clothing or high quality material. It is all pretty clean and the stall holders are friendly enough and not too pushy. We picked up some material, jewellery and toys and were well satisfied after a couple of hours wandering through while it was still relatively quiet. As we left it was starting to get very busy and hard to get through the narrow lanes.
    So back on the train, stopping at the department store Terminal 21 for coffee and pick up some stuff for the afternoon activity.
    Dropped our stuff off at the hotel and then hit the road and walked about 1.5km down to the apartment of Colin & Eiko and their children, friends of Justin, who had invited us over to christen their newly aquired BBQ. They have a lovely apartment on the 11th floor of a housing complex and overlook the sports fields of the neighbouring university. Colin had planned ahead and bought beer the day before. We had an excellent afternoon there, managed to watch some All Black vs British Lions over the internet, had some excellent steak & sausages & salad. Quite surreal doing such Aussie stuff, if such a setting. Was great to Colin & Eiko to have us there.
    Was latish when we got back to our hotel so Therrie & Ross decided to stay in, Louisa Sue & Peter went for a walk looking for somewhere not to expensive to eat. Pretty quiet around the area except the numerous shops hoping we were looking for a massage rather then a feed. Plenty of the restaurants were empty so we avoided them. So after walking around for 1/2 hour we ended up just back near our hotel and had a nice dinner there.
    Despite the forecast it did NOT rain today. Weather was very warm (32C) and humid.

    * Jatujak markets,
    * BBQ & hospitality at Colin & Eiko's
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  • Day18

    Bangkok - plan B day

    July 8, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Friday 8th July
    The weather looked reasonable so we planned to get out of town and go and visit the old city about 2 hours out of town. All good we caught the 1st train to the main country station only to find there were only 2 seats left on the train we needed to take. Other options were to take a later train, slower train or hire a taxi for the day. Over coffee we decided to abandon that idea and make a Plan B. After ignoring all the touts offerring advice to us, we headed off on foot.
    First up we walked to the river, about 2km and following the gps we wound our way through an industrial area. Almost all the shops were involved in machinery - some stacked high with auto gearboxes or old engines or brake drums or crankshafts or steel manufacturing. The shopkeepers were sitting on the sidewalk doing their trade so any walking had to be done on the street. Along every street there were mobile or stationary food stalls or carts, supplying food to the locals. Was a very entertaining walk.
    Finally arrived at the river where we jumped on a ferry which was fully loaded with passengers but that didn't stop the small conductor yelling at Justin to move up the front. That was worth the 14 baht ticket fare by itself.
    1st stop wqs the flower market which was already winding down, the peak trading hours had already passed. There was still an incredible array of both flowers and fruit and vegetable on display, quite a few we had no idea of what they were.
    Back to the ferry, quieter this time with different conductor and we got off near a major train station and then made our way bay to MBK complex to check out a couple of shops before lunch. Purchases completed, we trained it back to Asoke station, near our hotel and found our way to a Japanese style restaurant which provided us with an excellent meal.
    Then it was back to the hotel for a rest from all this walking, preparing to go to the markets in the evening.

    Ross & Therrie spent their day checking out the shopping complexes and indulging in a foot massage before returning later in the afternoon, ready for the markets.
    Just when we all got together in the hotel lobby tomleave, it started pouring with rain and as the markets are outdoor, we had to abandon this idea as well. As it was teeming down we only made it into a restaurant next door to the hotel where we sat upstairs and watched the rain beat down outside. No point going out now so we just had a nice dinner there before having an early night.

    Weather was very warm (about 32C) and humid with heavy storm early evening.

    * Walk through the industrial area,
    * The ferry ride (& conductor),
    * Japanese style lunch,
    * For Ross & Therrie it was some bargains and a foot massage.
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  • Day17

    Bangkok - Royal Palace,Trains & Shopping

    July 7, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Thursday 6th July
    Everyone a bit doughy after a short night and Ross was taking the chance to relax his legs which had come out in a rash.
    Justin's friend Colin met up with us while we had breakfast and planned a catchup on Saturday.
    Then we caught some trains (cool, modern and fast) to the river, changed to a river ferry alighting at the Royal Palace pier. As they had been before, Justin & Louisa stayed behind & drank coffee while Sue, Therrie & Peter joined the massive crowds going into the Royal Palace. There was security checking bags and hand-scanning each person and the at the gates the guards were turning away anyone not appropriately dressed (modest). This got us into the palace grounds but then we had to buy tickets to get into the palace area and temples (500 Baht). That done we joined the ever increasing crowds in the inner areas, it was soooo busy it was hard to walk around and see things, trying to avoid bumping into people and them into us. The buildings, ornaments and temples were just amazing, almost all were tiled in coloured or mirrored mosaic tiles, must have been and incredible activity to build it all.
    As instructed we removed our shoes to go into the Emerald Temple area and after walking around it for a bit, we returned to find Sue's & Therrie's sandals but my shoes were gone, should have been more careful. Had to spend the rest of the tour in my socks!!!!!
    Wandered around for a while longer but the crowds and heat got to us so we did a quick exit and went past the Royal Palace - can't go in, just walk past, but that is worthwhile in itself, a most amazing looking building, elaborate building and gardens all in the traditional Thai style.
    Apparently the recently deceased king is lying in state and some of the huge crowds were lined up to pay their respects to him. This plus the coming weekend is a religious holiday meant that more people than usual were visiting.
    We had enough and made our way out where Louisa & Justin were waiting with a pair of newly purchased & welcome thongs for peter. So the rest of his day was in long pants & thongs.
    Another attraction was close by so we walked to the Reclining Buddha, a giant golden statue of Buddha, in the reclining position. Paid a small entry fee which allowed us to walk past the statue and look around some temples. We skipped the temples.
    Outside, we decided to catch 2 taxis to the train station - Justin's taxi eventually got stranded in traffic and they bailed out and walked to a local station and trained it back to Asoke, near our hotel. The rest of us jumped in 1 taxi but the driver firstly refused to turn on the meter and refused to let us out until Louisa strongly told him to let us out. The next cab was more successful but we spent nearly 1 hour going a very small distance, eventually making it to the station. We all caught up for lunch and a cool drink, or 2.
    Returned to the trains to head to MBK, a major discount shopping centre where Peter got some new runners & Sue & Louisa bought some shirts & bags. Therrie & Ross also ended up there.
    and got some bargains. Justin went & caught up with Colin & his family.
    As we were all returning to the hotel (we had all split up by then) late in the arvo, the heavens opened up and it bucketed down, flooding the roads and stopping the trains. It commonly only rains for 1/2 hour but today was the deluxe, extended version and went for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
    Justin couldn't get out of Colins' house, so he came back later. The rest of us went nearby for a late dinner before calling it a night early.

    Weather was very warm (33C) and very humid with a thunderstorm late in the afternoon.

    * Royal Palace
    * ?? Peter's shoes getting pinched and did the Palace tour in his socks;
    * Trains - cheap, comfy, quick & easy to use;
    * Shopping
    * Getting caught by the torrential rain.
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  • Day16

    Hanoi, Ho, Pho & Egg Coffee

    July 6, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Wednesday 5th July
    Final day in Vietnam and lots to do before leaving Wed night.
    First off we went to see Ho Chi Minh - his body has been preserved and is on display for 3 hours a day. So we joined the thousands of other people in queue, and after leaving our bags at the bag room, we walked here and there, following instructions until we came to the mausoleum where we were herded in single file into the heavily guarded interior where Ho Chi Minh is lying in state, in a big glass & wood cabinet. Despite his wishes to be cremated, he is kept on display permanently except for each year he is sent to Russia to get "refurbished". There is no loitering with Sue being pushed along by the guards. Pretty impressive anyway.
    From there we took a walk through the gardens and living quarters, where supposedly Ho lived & worked while he was in charge. The rooms are decidedly modest, obviously portraying him as a humble and modest man. The gardens however were elaborate and immaculately groomed with every shrub and tree in fine condition and no yellow leaves / weeds / rubbish anywhere. Plus plenty of military types everywhere making sure no-one wandered into un-authorised areas.
    That done we found a nearby coffee shop and enjoyed an iced coffee, the men chose to up the strength to 4 (out of 5) and very nice it was too. Justin and Ross changed back into shorts, needed to be covered up to visit Ho.
    Sue & Justin went back to the hotel & the rest of us visited the War Museum, which was fairly modest with artefacts from many of the wars that Vietnam have been involved in (and won them all, according to the writings). The highlight was the remains of a US bomber that was shot down and crash landed in the lake in Hanoi.
    Time was getting short so we quick marched it back to the hotel to have a quick shower & packing before noon checkout.
    We lined up for our final Pho at the corner Pho shop which was rated No 1 in Hanoi. It was packed but pretty soon a table came free and we squeezed in. As we waited we witnessed a local man go into the shop and tried to sit down only for the staff to tell him to get out as others were waiting. He was not at all happy and started yelling at the staff and continued it outside where upon this old chap leapt up off his little stool & pushed the man away, was the shop security guy. Still yelling the old guy got on his scooter & roared away.
    Within a few minutes of ordering our Pho arrived and luckily we tried the chilli or chilli sauce before loading up the Pho because it was SUPER hot. The Pho was very good and we left as soon as finished to let others in.
    Then embarked on our next culinary landmark, walking about 1km to Giang Cafe, the original home of Egg Coffee. This is where the Vietnamese coffee is poured through a mixture of whipped condensed milk and an egg yolk. Was delicious, almost a dessert rather than a coffee.
    Spent some time shopping / looking around before we eventually wandered back to to the hotel where they supplied a special bathroom & towels for us to freshen up before leaving for the airport.
    Took a taxi / van to the airport, arriving earlier than expected, then having to wait an hour before check-in.
    Easy passage through, although papers are checked by govt people before immigration, at immigration and after immigration.
    Enough time to spend the last of our Dong, have some dinner then all aboard Nok Air for our 9pm flight to Bankok.
    Very pleasant flight in our now expected "justin Seats" the Emergency Row so lots of leg room. About 2 hour flight to Bangkok arriving about 11 pm, the same time as about 4 other planes so we spent over 45 mins in queue for immigration. So our bags were dizzy from going round & round on the carousel before we got there. Hired a taxi van and straight away we were speeding into the city, getting to our hotel, the Park Plaza 18, on the east side of the city. A much bigger hotel than those we have been staying in but very nice rooms & facilities. A quick check-in and we were ready for sleep.

    Weather was overcast, very warm and very humid, 32C & 70% RH

    * Visiting Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum;
    * Seeing the remains of the US bomber;
    * Pho lunch & the ensuing disturbance;
    * Egg Coffee;
    * Wandering the streets of the Old Quarter;
    * Having a freshen up before leaving for the airport.
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  • Day15

    Halong Bay Day 2

    July 5, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Tuesday 4th July
    Very quiet start to the day with no-one about when Peter & Sue got up and sat on deck watching the boat wake up. After the storms last night the day was still overcast but much clearer. The crew just sleep on the floor or wherever. At 6.30 Hieu arrived and conducted a 20 min Tai Chi session, finishing it off with a handstand, on the mainsail mast which was 1 m above the deck.
    Followed by a nice breakfast and then the boat moved a short distance and we got ready for the next activity - going to the Luon Cave, by kayak or bamboo boat. Louisa & Peter tried the kayaking, Sue, Therrie & Ross went in a bamboo boat. We went through a tunnel with the roof just high enough to paddle through before entering a cove or lagoon, maybe 10 to 20 ha in area with straight cliffs towering over us on most sides. I guess it was a cave and then the roof fell in. The trees and shrubs grow all over the walls and it was very quiet, apart from the splashing of paddles and chattering of people in the kayaks. On the far side was a troop of monkey feeding and playing around. They were oblivious of all the people and probably played up a bit to show off. Lovely place.
    Back on board to find Justin finally up and about, a bit of viewing time before we had to get out of our rooms and then Hieu did a little cooking demonstration of how to make Deep Fried Spring Rolls.
    The boat then began making its way back to harbour, again with about 100 other boats and when we arrived we were provided a final sit-down lunch, including the spring rolls.
    A general farewell between the guests, then onto the tender and a short wait for our bus and then the 4 hour bus ride back to Hanoi.
    Looks like many of the little shops are closed today with the trip being quicker than the day before, again we stopped at another factory / coffee shop with handicrafts available.
    Back to the hotel by 4.30pm to a little bit of rain and very humid.
    Ross & Therrie found a lovely rooftop restaurant for dinner and the rest headed to a place called New Day restaurant. We were taken up to the 3 rd floor which was 1 table for 10 in a tiny room. Good service and very tasty food.
    A bit of a walk around after dinner but pretty quiet due to the rain & Tues night, so back to the hotel early.

    Weather - Very warm (32C) and very humid. Rain in Hanoi, heavy for a brief time.

    * Waking up in Halong Bay;
    * Doing Tai Chi on the boat at 6.30am;
    * Luon Cave, with the monkeys.
    * Dinner in Hanoi
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  • Day14

    Halong Bay Day 1

    July 4, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Monday 3rd July
    Breakfast at the hotel (7th Floor, overlooking Hanoi) before checking out, taking only an overnight bag and getting collected by the minibus from Galaxy Cruises, our selected company for our Halong Bay Cruise. There were 17 on the bus, 6 in our bunch, 1 Aussie couple from Harvey Bay, 1 family of 4 from Adelaide, a family of 3 from Hobart and a couple from NZ / Malaysia. After collecting everyone we headed off on the 4 hour trip to Halong Bay.
    Our tour guide was Hieu (Hugh, as in Hugh Grant, handsome man!!) who we later discover is also our entertainer (magic tricks), educator (information), cooking instructor, Tia Chi master, food waiter and chief organiser. Hieu started off by giving us a history lesson about Vietnam, it wars (and therefore its successes), Ho Chi Minh, Halong Bay and general information. He was very particular about historical dates and could recite any major event in Vietnam history. Plus he gave us the usual speech about the wonderful socialist country but he was also open about the corruption.
    The trip took us through some countryside where traditional farming takes place, mostly rice but also lots of fruit & vegetables. Saw a few tractors but most work is done with a small walk-behind tractor, like a rotary hoe, and hand labour. Didn't see any but apparently the water buffalo are still commonly used. There is major construction happening along the way, roads, houses & factories being built but looks like the standard of constructon is still average and haphazard at best. As we have seen elsewhere, the roads in the towns are lined with small shops of every description and a brisk trade was being had. The roads are still rough with Therrie & Ross being bounced around in the back seat.
    We had a half way stop at a factory / shop where products are made by disabled people and some beautiful artifacts were available for sale.
    Finally we made it to Halong Bay and after a brief wait we got on a small tender and motored our way out to our cruise boat. The whole marina area is quite modern and some huge resorts are being / newly built. There were hundreds of cruise boats scattered along the marina. After instructions we checked in, our cabins were comfortable but as we were to discover, hard beds. Assembled for lunch while the boat made its way out into the bay, along with about 100 others. We also met our other cruise members - a young South African couple and a family of 4 also from South Africa. 23 passengers in total plus about 7 or 8 crew who all were involved in multiple tasks from sailing the boat to serving food & drink, cleaning, etc.
    The day was still very hazy and overcast so it was very warm and humid and viewing of the islands was spectacular but a bit limited. The bay is made up of thousands of limestone islands that rise above the water and provide a very sheltered bay.
    After a while of winding its way around numerous islands we drop anchor and we are ferried over to 1 large island which houses the Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) where we joined thousands of other visitors in walking through a series of immense caves, naturally formed by sea water & erosion. Quite spectacular and Hieu gave us information about the different structures & shapes that are found throughout.
    Back on the boat and travelled a short distance to Ti Top Island, a small but very tall island that has its own natural beach. We were offloaded there and had the choice of walking up to the lookout or swimming.
    Sue, Louisa & Peter took the hard slog option of the 425 steps to the top, reaching the summit just in time for the rain to start, which was quite warm but refreshing. Made the steps down slippery & and a bit more hazardous but we all got back down safely. None of us chose the swimming - the water was luke warm and with the vast number of boats & people, plenty of rubbish in the water.
    Wet, sweaty & thirsty we were ferried back to our boat where it moved back out into the bay and made anchor for the night. I counted 28 boats all within our bay, so there was no clear view but it was very quiet across the water (except for the occassional sounds of Karaoke from another boat). Pretty soon we were assembled for dinner and more instructions and some time for drinks and getting aquainted with our fellow passengers. Most people participated and some good conversations got going and a few laughs were had.
    After dinner Hieu entertained us with some nifty magic tricks and then people dispersed to their cabins or up onto the top deck for a relax & chat.
    Was calm on the water but very humid until a couple of thunderstorms went across during the night which cooled things off and cleared the air.

    Weather was very warm about 32C & very humid.

    * Halong Bay tour (Galaxy Premium Tour) and Hieu our guide;
    * Halong Bay - remarkable scenery;
    * Sung Sot cave;
    * Ti Top Island;
    * Great time on the boat
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  • Day13

    Hoi An to Hanoi

    July 3, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Sunday 2nd July

    Due to change in the flight time, earlier than scheduled, we had to get out of the hotel by 5.45am. We had booked a van which was early and the hotel had very thoughtfully packed some breakfast for us - a container with a boiled egg and a sausage wrapped in bacon and in the other container yoghurt, roll & banana. Very much appreciated as we sped towards Da Nang airport, a 45 min trip. Not too much traffic but still plenty for 6am sunday morning. People getting their shops and produce ready for sale, foods stalls cooking their food and marquee's going up for weddings. Easy trip to the airport and then the the noise began with lots of people flying off to different parts and all intent on yelling at each other across the airport. Added to the chaos was the airport loudspeaker constantly announcing something or another. Anyway close to scheduled time we were loaded onto a bus and travelled about 1/2km to the end of the airport where all the budget planes are parked, our Jetstar flightbeing 1 of those.
    A short 1 hour flight (Justin's magic had us in emergency row seats) and we were pretty soon collecting our bags at Hanoi airport. A few minutes wait & our van turns up to wisk us away into Hanoi. Mostly freeway but road rules are completely optional & totally ignored. About 45 mins of road mayhem and we were deposited at our hotel, the Hanoi Blue Hotel, located in a tiny street in the Old quarter, an area with narrow streets full of shops, stalls, housing and seemingly millions of scooters & motorbikes. Again road rules are absent with bikes riding the wrong way, on the footpath and up the opposite sides of the street. Chaotic but it all seems to flow, no-one gets too angry and the horns get a good work out.
    A warm welcome by the hotel, we check in and then go for a walk around, finding a cafe for lunch just near the lake. After lunch we stroll around the lake, on Sundays they close the surrounding streets off to cars & people can just stroll about, very pleasant.
    The lake is called the Hoam Kiem Lake which means the Lake of the Reclaimed Sword. Legend has it that 1 emperor many centuries ago was fighting the Chinese (common occurrence for Vietnam) and the great Turtle in the lake gave the emperor a sword, which he used to defeat the enemy. After the victory, the turtle took the sword back. The lake was home to turtles but none have been found for a year or more.
    After a relax & freshen up we hit the road again looking for a dinner spot and ended up at the Marvel Hotel where we were provided a most sumptous meal with outstanding service, for not many $.
    Sue & Peter took another walk back to the lake to see it all lit up and enjoyed seeing families everywhere, taking in the nice summer evening. Sunday evening is a peak time for families here in Hanoi as well.

    Weather was hot in Hoi An but cooler (32C) in Hanoi but still very humid and very hazy.

    * Calla Villa Hotel providing us with a travelling breakfast;
    * Hotel Blue Hanoi
    * Hanoi Old Quarter;
    * Dinner at the Marvel Hotel.
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  • Day12

    Super Saturday in Hoi An

    July 2, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    Saturday July 1
    The heat is starting to tell with a bit of reluctance to get going. Peter went for an early walk and then returned to the Ancient Town with Louisa while it was still fairly quiet, just locals setting up their stalls, a couple of busloads of Contiki Tourists (can tell by their hungover looks & sweaty faces) and a few early starters. Then the busloads of Korean tousists turned and and the whole place suddenly got busy. We all got together at lunchtime (Therrie & Ross returned to Phi's Manh Bi for another roll) before we went off to Be Be's for the final fitting. Sue & Louisa's only took a few minutes but Ross's suit took longer, no problem as it was cool inside the shop.
    That done, it was time to find a pub to watch the Rugby - NZ vs Lions. Found 1 pub but it was full so had to go another 1 km to find the other one, which was good, they had an upstairs room set up like a mini cinema with 1 whole wall as the screen. Best thing was every few minutes the staff would come in an get orders for more cold beer and snack food orders. Result wasn't so good but a fun way to get out of the heat.
    Sue & Therrie had returned to the hotel pool so were pretty cool when we got back. A couple of drinks and then we headed out for our last meal in Hoi An. Back into the Ancient Town area and it was packed, there were buses everywhere and the street were just full of people. Luckily we found a nice little restaurant in a back alley and had some quiet before back into the crowds and returned home early, ready for an early start tomorrow.
    As planned the clothes from the tailor's were delivered to our hotel by about 9.30pm.

    * seeing the town while it was still cool & quiet;
    * Getting the clothes finished;
    * Watching the rugby in the 3 Dragons pub;
    * Last look at the lanterns in Hoi An, night.

    Still very hot 36C & high humidity, cooler at night
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  • Day11

    Hoi An - Tailor Made

    July 1, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 38 °C

    Friday 30th June
    Easy start to the day before walking down through the town, looks a bit different in the daytime. The old town area is World Heritage Listed and the buildings are a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, French & Portugese, all the nations who have used Hoi An as a trading port for some hundreds of years. Almost all the buildings are used as houses / businesses, mostly tourist oriented.
    We made our way to Be Be tailors where Ross arranged to have a suit made, Louisa a skirt & Sue a trench coat.
    The whole experience is amazing, the moment we walked in we were escorted to a table and issued with iced water and a cool hand towel. Each customer had their own consultant who discussed the item, showed a range of materials and colours, drew the rough design and took any amount of measurements and in Ross's case, took photos. Within 1/2 hour, we were all done, paid a deposit and told to come back in 6 hours. The store is huge with seemingly acres of reams of material and rear of the store has about 100 tailors making every article from scratch.
    When we returned at 4 for 1st fitting they had pretty much finished Louisa's skirt, all but finished Sue's coat & the suit was together but needed significant adjustments, requiring the prescence of the tailor to come and inspect the needed alterations. Amazing to think that it all was just a design a few short hours before.
    Lunch was amazing, Louisa & Justin located a shop that was famous for its "sandwich" or Manh Bi. After a long, hot walk through suburbia and down narrow streets & alleys, we thought this was a wild goose chase, until we found the shop, a tiny little cafe, able to seat about 12 with the food prepared out of a little glass cabinet. The sandwich is spiced meat and various herbs & pickled vegetables in a crispy but soft bun. It was so good Justin & Ross had to have 2. A Manh Bi & beer cost less than A$2, outstanding food. The owner, Phi, said that he has the rolls specially made, just for him. Well worth the walk to & from.
    Was very hot so after lunch we retired to cool rooms / swimming pool. Cooled off a bit after the fitting so we found a restaurant nearby and had an ok dinner and then tried a banana pancake from a street vendor which was made on the spot and very yummy.

    * the whole tailor experience;
    * Manh Bi roll for lunch;
    * checking out the old town during the day;
    * relaxing by the pool;
    * banana pancacke

    Weather was real hot, 36C & >70% humidity
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