Last Day in Hoi An 

A beautiful morning always makes you want to get out and about. 
This morning we took the bikes and cycled along the river stopping when something took our eye. 

We passed men  cleaning fish …… and pigs 

Children exercising with their dad. An outdoor Flintstones style gym. 

The gym equipment was made with cement shapes and it served its purpose. 

We turned around and made our way back and I decided to keep riding across to the island. I joined the locals and cycled over the river and down shady lanes.

It was beautiful. 

I turned and headed for the hotel. Breakfast awaits. 

Past the ladies sweeping. 

The ladies hanging washing. 

A great ride. 

Girls on Tour

Having a holiday  with a group of girls is always fun. 

A beer at the tailors whilst waiting our turn!

We have been partners in crime when it comes to shopping. I’ve had more things made on this holiday, with the girls encouraging comments,  than I would if  hubbie was here. 

Sorry you aren’t here Steve. I might have saved money! 

Yesterday was all about shoes , glasses, dresses and the odd glass of wine. 
We had things made with Trinh our lovely Homestay lady. Now we are at the resort style Ha An, we have found another tailor. 

We found ‘Rin My Cloth Shop’ 15  Phan Boi Chau. It’s run by a smart ( slightly bossy) lady who is married to a slightly older Australian man. The shop is bright and well set out – definitely his influence…. and the fabrics are beautiful   The Silk cotton is lovely. Let’s hope their tailoring is good. 

Draped with our fabrics

We all draped and chatted and encouraged each other until suddenly I had 3 dresses on order. A red silk with a light pattern, a navy with red & yellow design copied like one of my Maiocchi dresses and a gorgeous dark navy silk with splashes of colour – this one is long and floaty. 

The shoe shop Bi  99 is conveniently around the corner with a very sweet girl called Bi. She took my shoes to have copied and sent me away in thongs. They would be ready this afternoon. She was very pleased to have my friends arrive later and order a few more pairs. Mine have been copied 3 times in all different colour combinations. 

Foot frenzy.

I tried a few different glasses shops but settled one in the same street as the hotel. The girl Linh was super helpful and appeared to have training- she told she studied ( hopefully optometry) in Ho Chi Minh for 3 years. I selected some multi coloured frames and new sunnies in an deep purple. ! Pick up is this afternoon. How do they do that? So fast! 

New glasses.

Going back today to try them out. Two pairs for AU$160. I thought that was quite good. Linh said she wanted me to wear them around today and if there were no problems to tell Trip Advisor. If there were any problems come back and tell her. “And I will fix” she said confidently! 

Dinner last night was a chicken curry in clay pot. Wholesome and flavoursome. A winner. 

We sat on the verandah of one of the many charming lantern lit restaurants. There are dozens of them offering wonderful Vietnamese food. The local Cau Lau is famous in Hoi An. The water used to make the noodles is said to be from a particular well in the city. Without this water the dish is not authentic. White rose is another local favourite. It’s delicious and I could hardly get enough of it. 

The weather  has been very good to us. Not too hot now and no storms as predicted. Lucky us. 

Last nights restaurant.

Fabric frenzy

Our hostess Trinh, the human dynamo is a former seamstress who still has strong links to fabric shops and tailors.

So we had yet another visit to select some fabrics. We no sooner select something then that afternoon the clothing is back!

I’ve brought a few things to have copied and so far all have been successful. I can hardly believe it. For the price of one Country Road dress I have assorted dresses, pants and tops.

As well as guiding us through fabric selection and designs Trinh cooks us breakfast and lunch. She really loves to care for us. Linda has stayed here many times and they have a great friendship. But reading the trip advisor reviews, everyone loves Trinh.

After our cycle this morning we had a great omelette for breakfast. We returned for lunch and today had calamari salad, rice with mussels, cooked prawns with lime pepper sauce , crisp white wine and a strawberry smoothie for dessert!

We needed a  nap, it was soooo hot. Later,  I took myself off to the beach. The Linda and Marilyn rested and went for a short walk and Di walked to the old town. It was a 10 minute taxi ride to the beach that cost me the equivalent of $4!

The beach was yet another experience. Lots of deck chairs and grass style umbrellas. Rustic cafes lined the foreshore, ladies with pointy Vietnamese hats wandered along trying to sell everything from cool drinks to suncream, sun hats, satay and donuts. The water was a good temperature , no waves and had people of all nationalities plunging in and jumping around. Not much swimming going on!  I’m sure I looked a little strange as I swam along.

I returned home and we made our way into the old town to find another cool bar. Last nights bar was lovely. It was by the river so had  lovely cool breezes. Tonight’s was upstairs on the island looking back to the old town. It’s so pretty with all the lanterns.

Needless to say we don’t eat much for dinner after such a great lunches. But I’m a little addicted to fresh spring rolls so tried them again. Also the eggplant here is great. And the salads. In fact all the food is great. Light and tasty.

So we finished the night walking through some of the smaller streets checking out the shops and lanterns, across the Japanese bridge and back to the house.

Trinh was waiting for us with yet another delivery of our clothes. We had a little fashion parade and Di and I had a laugh in our matching nighties!

And so to bed. Tomorrow a 7am trip the beach for an early swim.

An early start for My Son.

4am and the house was stirring with alarms going off and dragging us from our beds. By 4.30am we were in the bus with a few other sleepy travellers.

The trip to My Son took about an hour and it was peaceful to pass through little villages as the locals woke up and started their day. We saw men and woman riding bicycles and carrying produce to and from markets, women cooking and sweeping and going about their daily business.

Mỹ Sơn (Vietnamese pronunciation: [mǐˀ səːn]) is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa (Chiêm Thành in Vietnamese).[1][2] The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.

It was beautiful and cool as we walked from the bus along the path to the temple site. Not the size or grandeur of Ankor Wat but impressive in its own way. Our guide, a sweet young Vietnamese man was quietly spoken and very hard to understand. It made listening difficult and as we moved through the temple site and the heat of the day arrived we started to tune out.

By 8.30 we were back in the bus and drove half way back to Hoi An before transferring to a boat for the remainder of the journey.  It was cool and peaceful on the river

We stopped at a little island close to Hoi An and spent some time walking along the shady lanes visiting the various craftsmen working on their craft. No hard sell from them,  thank goodness,  but that made us want to buy a few simple gifts for home  I bought a fan. Those of you who know me would remember I’m a ‘fan of a fan’

The boat stopped on the island at Hoi An and we stopped for a coffee at the cargo bar before heading back to our Thanh Lau Homestay.

Trinh was waiting with a beautiful lunch –   today was a seafood noodle salad with extra prawns and mussels and of course a plate of delicious fruit. Washed down with a local crisp white wine we were more than ready for our afternoon nap.

Our lunch spot at the home stay.

This evening we are heading back to Hoi An to browse the shops and have a cool glass of ‘something delicious ‘  and listen to some music .





On the road to Hoi An

Hanging out in airports is the down side of travel. And the 5 hours spent in KL airport was no exception.

It did give us a chance to chat and laugh and prepare for our holiday.

We met up with Di who flew in from Sydney and was rested after her night in the airport hotel.

Our flight left on time and I had a little man next to me who was wildly excited to look past me and out the window…… for the whole trip. At one point I had to ask him to back away!

We were met on arrival at Danang and driven to Hoi An about half an hour away. The beach front was blocked with buildings. Resort after resort are being built along the water and  is changing the landscape and the atmosphere of what was a little village.
Trinh, our hostess at the home stay was waiting to greet us and after allocating our rooms gave us a beautiful  lunch. Spring rolls and a delicious noodle soup followed by fruit. She knows how to spoil her guests and at $19 US a night is a bargain.

The home stay house is a three story pink house typically of Vietnam. I’m on the 3rd floor up forty steps. It’s huge room,  traditionally decorated.

Each of us has our own room and share a bathroom between two rooms. It’s  the typical open shower style so common here and in Cambodia.

We needed a little after lunch sleep in the heat of the day before our 4pm meeting with Trinh to talk about clothes we might have made. In an earlier life Trinh, a  human pint sized dynamo ran a fabric and tailor shop. Perfect!

We laugh and chatted and then headed off to a fabric shop. It was an Aladdin cave of fabrics. We sorted and encouraged each other as we selected some beautiful silk and cotton fabrics from the hundreds of designs on offer.

Trinh guided us with military precision and before we knew it we were packed up and heading to Hoi An old town for drinks.

Hoi An is charming and known as the lantern city for good reason. There are hundreds of lanterns all over the town.

We found a lovely verandah and settled in with chilled white wine and fresh spring rolls to recover from the fabric overload.

Phew. What a first day. We were exhausted so headed back to the Thanh Luan Homestay for some well deserved sleep.

Tomorrow we have a 4.30am pick up to visit My Son,  a site of ancient ruins from the Cham Empire. 

A mini break in Vietnam

A year ago my mahjong friend Linda suggested a trip to Vietnam. ‘Cheap fares’ she said. Who can resist a short break with girlfriends in an exotic place. So we promptly booked. Five of us. Sadly Shelly can’t make it so we are now four.

A year later the date has finally arrived. I had almost forgotten about it with so much happening in my life. But here I am in the Air Asia lounge in Kuala Lumpur waiting for our connecting flight to Hoi An.

We are having 4 nights in a homestay called the Thanh Luan. Linda is good friends with Trinh the owner after staying there many times. Trinh will look after us and even organise to have some clothes made for us!

Following that we go on the  train to Hue then back to a more resort style hotel in Hoi An.

The experience started with an Air Asia flight from the Gold Coast. A new experience for me. A no frills cheap flight which turned out to be much better than first imagined. Mind you I was lucky in my seat selection. We had chosen down the back of the plane where there were about 10 rows of just 2 seats and a wider aisle. Luckily I had no one next to me.

So with no distractions of food, drinks etc we settled in after our 10.30pm take off and with eye mask on, ear plugs in I managed to get some sleep. It’s a ‘do it yourself’ flight. No pillows, blankets masks, water, entertainment. You supply your own or pay extra. So knowing this I was well prepared.

We’re now in  the Air Asia lounge. Yes,  you pay extra for it ( about $20) but it’s quiet, has showers, food, coffee some comfy seats and few people,  so is a good place to hang out and wait  for our flight to Danang.

I’m about to test the shower and starting to feel relaxed. It was hard dragging myself away from Easter at Caloundra where the weather was great. But a new adventure awaits.

Keep reading and you’ll find out about four 60+ ladies on vacation.