Friday, June 11, 2010

One more time in Hoi An

Too much working--time for a break. Off we go to Hoi An.

There are tons of classy resorts near Hoi An (and we stayed in the best one), but I must recommend the Hoi An Hotel. The rooms are comfy, the grounds are beautiful, and it is in the heart of Hoi An. Save yourself the hassle of scheduled shuttle buses.

The lights of Hoi An seen from the uneventful An Hoi Islet.

Hoi An is all about silk. Here is one of many silk-lantern shops. Don't you want to take home a few dozen?

Speaking of silk, here we are at the huge silk emporium Yali. They give a nice silk-weaving demonstration and have a mini museum of tribal clothing. Jenny's scarf wasn't bought here, we got it at a steal from a local shop. Of course, I hid behind the corner until the price was settled on. Wow, you should see the shopkeeper's face when a foreigner walks in and pays the tiny local fee.

Very hard to resist the urge to collect absolutely everything. Somehow we managed, though I still regret it.

We had the most amazing dinner at Morning Glory. Jenny's travel perks were enjoyed even here, and we got a 6 mini-course dinner including some damn good banh xeo.

Picture ds..

But beat it we did! Across the street we got a lovely passion yogurt and chocolate mousse cake for much less ($1 as opposed to $2). I think Tam Tam was the place.So cute I almost risked serious illness to play with it. Strange about the tail--I think Vietnamese do this for fashion purposes.

There are many temples in Hoi An that squeeze money out of foreigners. You have to buy tickets, and like everything else in Hoi An, tourists pay more than double.

A little bansai sculpture at the temple. David tricked me into thinking this was shot from the plane :)

Having lunch with Vinh, who was David's favorite guide last trip.

Pretending to be a total weakling. Could have pulled this thing all over town if it wasn't nailed to the ground.
I ate the unborn duck and David said "This is Jenny, love of my life, eating an unborn chicken. And with every sign of enjoyment too".

The beautiful views from Cam Nam bridge. Locals offer boat rides here. Next time.

A trip to Randy's Book Exchange in Cam Nam Island is a must.

The Japanese Bridge. It is a functional temple, and a huge tourist spot--you need a ticket to climb on, or just wait until a crowd of people get on.

There are plenty of centuries-old houses that are now museums. They are pretty neat to visit. You can usually see the waterline--Hoi An floods up to a meter or more about once a month.

Time for some fresh squid on the way to Da Nang. Those are basket boats, which I haven't tried yet. Doesn't sound like a great idea to me, given the many options for building boats.

Going home too soon! Or are we? Hoi An is perhaps the most beautiful little city in Vietnam. However, I find a couple of days is quite enough as it is shamefully over-touristed--as I said, seeing white folk spoils my adventure, and I haven't seen as many white folk in NYC. You can't go for a nice quiet stroll without someone calling and pleading and practically dragging you by your sleeves for you to buy something, and if you fall for it you will pay well over half price for the "Tourist Tax." And there are far too many cyclos and xe om's following close on your heels. What is neat is there are many more bicycles and electric bikes than anywhere else and there are streets where motorcycles are banned.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Nam Hai

Here we are in The (teh) Nam Hai, one of many resorts that line the highway between Da Nang and Hoi An. You can frolic here for $525 a night--or more accurately, you cannot frolic here for $525 a night. Unless you are a travel agent with favors to cash in. Or you know a travel agent with favors to cash in. So, my hubby said "thanks to Jenny and her generous friends, I am extremely fortunate to be at a 5-star resort near lovely Hoi An absolutely free of charge".

You don't walk in a 5 star resort. You call 0 and have a cart take you anywhere.

The view to the beach from our private villa.

A lovely view of our porch :)

1st Class Flip Flops! Which, to me, are just as uncomfortable as 3rd class Flip Flops. Vietnamese have yet to discover the amazing Shoe.

A sitting area by the porch.

The villa isn't big, but it is very well designed. The bed, den, office, and bathtub are neatly arranged in a central area which can be closed off with curtains at night. Very romantic!

The outdoor shower, which I like very much. Especially in the rain.

This is an original ink in our villa--wish it was "complimentary," or easy to steal.

One thing you can always find at a resort is a beautiful pool. The Nam Hai has 3.

Breakfast is simply astounding. Even Hoi An's special local noodles, Cao Lau, was better at the resort. My god how we ate!

This must be their trademark flower. I have no idea how it gets pollinated--maybe it evolved so that passing elephants would brush the anthers against the stamen. Each one is incredibly beautiful, the kind of flower you want to see only once at the end of a long expedition. But they grow it like hedges.

Is there a herpetologist in the house??

No resort is complete without a huge, fat toad. So awesome! Especially to see it bound on super long, skinny hind legs.
The resort points to a private beach. Not a great one as beaches go--the sand is hard packed and the waves are rough. Should have brought boogie boards.

Mountains and island chains break up the landscape. Somewhere out there is Cham Island, with ruins and, FINALLY a place to break out my snorkel. Next time.