03.08.2013 - 03.08.2013 33 °C
Our day today started with an unexpected power cut throughout the city. What made the power outage particularly bad for us was that our room has no windows. We managed to get ready aided only by a small torch and made our way out for breakfast.
We didn't have anywhere to be or anything to do today so we just planned on wandering the streets similar to yesterday and getting our bearings. We grabbed a breakfast sandwich from a small cart in the streets, filled with pate, pork, a kind of meatloaf sausage, herby salad an chilli sauce. For 20000 dong each (70p) they were cheap and delicious.
We ate them sat on a bench by the river before calling into a café behind us to wash it down with coffee. We may have mentioned this before but Vietnam coffee is in a different league to any other coffee we have had on our travels. Ice or hot, it is really strong and mixed with sweet thick condensed milk, that sits on the bottom until stirred, it is amazing,
After our coffee we wandered on the opposite side of the river that we visited at night. It was equally as charming at night, even then generators buzzing in the background as the restaurants tried to power up there kitchens didn't ruin the atmosphere. The heat was steadily increasing so we dipped into another café for a drink and sat there passing an hour or so talking.
Chelsea decided she wanted to continue the shopping spree she started yesterday so we went back on the look for shoes, We called in a tailors on the main road and before we knew it, Chelsea had flicked through a catalogue (which is actually a selection of pages from western catalogues like Next, which the tailors then copy exactly to your specifications), chosen a style she liked, picked a colour of leather from a huge pile of samples, had her feet measured and drawn around and paid a deposit. The whole process snow balled and we now have to return tomorrow evening for any adjustments that may need making to the finished product. Needless to say Chelsea is a happy bunny with a pair of bespoke, maid to measure sandals on the way.
Liam had had enough shopping after this so we went in search of a tea house we had spotted yesterday. Ever since Melaka 8 months ago Chelsea had wanted to go in a proper Chinese tea house, and this has been our first chance. It is a beautiful, silent room, elegantly decorated with intricate tea pots and tea sets and expensive furniture. We learnt on arrival that it is run by a charity for adults and the tea shop is run by deaf and mute. Your table is provided with blocks with terms like Thank you, bill and Hot Water, and the menu has a slip for you to complete to put in your order. Chelsea ordered green tea and Liam jasmine tea. Each came as an individual set with tea pot, cup, and a sugary treat that we did not particularly care for. The tea however was incredible and we sat there for a good while slowly sipping our tea, had a hot water refill and left when we were finally all tea'd out. It was one of the most beautiful cafes we have been in and the atmosphere was just lovely.
We continued to walk the streets and then came across a scuba diving company shop. Just out of curiosity we called into ask about a price for the Open Water course that Liam has wanted to do since arriving in Asia. The original plan was to visit Koh Tao, a Thai island that is well know for good quality and cheap diving. The price quoted by the diving company in Hoi An however for this course was $370 dollars or £240, only around £40 more than a good diving operator on Ko Tao according to the internet. After learning this we decided to look into it further online and, over another drink in a café, learnt that this particular dive operator has amazing customer reviews, especially for its instructors. This appealed to us as neither of us has scuba dived before and although the waters off Vietnam are apparently not as amazing as Ko Tao, feeling confident with our instructors is important. Further research showed the diving spot looked good with plenty of fish and coral to see. Liams dad, when he was here, generously offered to pay for this as his birthday present, and after our research Chelsea feels confident enough to also do it so we are going to look into booking it this week, we are very excited.
We are also excited for tomorrow as we have today booked onto cooking course that looks great (another generous gift from Chelsea's parents, we are spoilt). We are hoping that Liam does not become ill between now and then and he can do it this time. The course is on the riverfront, and will just be the two of us. We are to do five dishes that we have already chosen, and do a market trip, we have to be at the course for 10am tomorrow.
in the evening we ventured back to the harbour and ate at a cheap street stall. After we sat overlooking the water with a beer and cocktail and talked. The atmosphere of the town is relaxed and charming and we have had a great day enjoying it.
We are really enjoying Hoi An, it is a beautiful place, has cheap and incredible food, cheap drinks, and amazing quality courses and shops that are all reasonable prices. We have no plans to move on yet and are determined to make the most of our time here. It is already one of our favourite places we have been on our trip.