off we go! travel blog

Betel Garden Homestay - Our room

Betel Garden - Dining room

Vietnamese violin

The burglar

Hoi An

So today, a leisurely start; a gentle swim, then breakfast followed by a lazy coffee whilst we decided what to do. We wandered around the lovely gardens; there were several caged birds, one of which puffed up its chest to produce a long whistle - (captured with my iPad; but couldn't load the video). We decided to borrow some bikes and cycle into Hoi An. After some adjustments to the bikes we were off. It's all very flat around here so cycling was easy though by the end of the day we knew we had been cycling; but the saddles seemed comfortable to begin with....

In daylight, as in the evening, Hoi An is a delight, many old wooden buildings, dating from 15th and 16th century, some Chinese pagodas, covered markets, many many tailors, shops, caf├ęs, restaurants and all the usual tourist shops and no cars allowed! Despite the number of tourists everyone seemed very friendly, keen to make a sale, but not to too pushy and certainly nothing like we experienced in Saigon.

We rode on right through the town to a little fishing port which also had several potteries though there didn't seem to be too much activity at the time. Out into the countryside, past paddy fields and lagoons off the river it was quite picturesque. At this point my camera lens decided it wasn't going to autofocus anymore, a real nuisance as it was the lens I use the most, will have to see if I can get it fixed in Bangkok.

Back to Hoi An to visit the market (of course!), bought some Ralph Lauren Polo shirts for about 7 USD each and then off to collect our handmade purchases; the sandals were perfect, so Ruth ordered another pair; the tailored items all needed more work and were delivered to our homestay later that evening.

We had been invited to dinner with the manager that night and we were joined by two other guests, an American and his escort, a Vietnamese lady. Dinner was good as was the company. It was just great to sit outside having dinner on a warm November's evening, a pleasant end to a relaxing day.

Day two at Betel Garden Homestay started much as the first, it really is a lovely place and so relaxing. We borrowed bikes again so we could take a look at the beach, some 3km away. It was a good bit windier today, and the wind got stronger as we approached the beach. It was a fantastic beach, stretching on for miles -all the way to Da Nang, some 30km away, but there was a very strong wind and huge breakers. No chance of a swim here! We had been warned of the approach to Typhoon Krosa and maybe this was just the beginning?

We cycled on for a while, passing at least 6 part built hotel/villa complexes, all close to the beach and seemingly abandoned. Because of this the whole strip was somewhat desolate and definitely not pretty.

Returning to Hoi An we collected yet more clothing and another pair of shoes that Ruth had ordered and on to a little theatre where they showed traditional dance and music. Very colourful and over all too soon. On to a small restaurant to try a local speciality; fish baked in a clay pot and to try fresh beer. All very good. Back to our room and early bed as Ruth was suffering the effects of being too long on a bike.

Day three started as usual (by now) but for the dawn chorus of a funeral wake just up the road. It had been going on for a week; every so often, presumably at determined times, the music would start up, play for a while then rest. Quite mournful music as you might expect and punctuated by the beating of a large drum and gong. Last day today, apparently.

The Typhoon has been gradually downgraded from a Typhoon to a severe Tropical Storm, to a Tropical Storm and finally to a Tropical Depression, but it's still predicted to hit Vietnam slightly south of here, around midnight today. It has been weakening rapidly but will still bring a great deal of rain. Good job we are heading north to Hue at lunchtime, hopefully we will escape the worst. Not a welcome birthday present!

Another Pho Bo then off to the station.

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