Shopping, Eating, Photography - Woohoo!

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Since we had taken a 'sleeper bus' during the day journey to Mui Ne, we thought we were well prepared to take a sleeper bus overnight from Mui Ne to Hoi An.  When will we learn that nothing is predictable in Asia or in the way we travel?  The bus ride was 17.5 hours long (2:30pm-8:00am).  The highlights included:
  • beautiful coastline scenery (fishing villages, ocean landscape, rice paddies, sand dunes)
  • scary road conditions and traffic
  • non-stop, penetrating blow-horn bus and car honking
  • a 'dinner break' of 14 minutes (due to delayed arrival for bus change).  Since there was insufficient time to order food in a restaurant, we tried a street stall bang mi (baguette sandwich with, amongst other things, pate) that was frightening to see how it was prepared and what went in it but delicious to eat.  All the time we were praying it wouldn't have ill effects on us during the remaining 12 hour bus ride, which, by the way, did not include a bathroom break and the bus bathroom was not working!
  • an upper bunk cubicle for each of us.  Mary is being stretched with every experience; she was nervous about climbing up and down to the upper bunk and having limited breaks but she addressed both challenges famously!
We loved Hoi An!  It's touristy with aggressive sales people who have panache: from young children selling floating candles on which to make a wish and launch in the river to old ladies pushing the best peanuts you have ever eaten.

Hoi An is known for its clothing and food.  We saw store after store selling pre-made clothing, tailors who will whip together a custom fit suit or whatever your heart desires, shoes of every shape and colour that can be made for you in a day, and, my favourite, silk everywhere.  Mary and I encouraged each other into buying clothes neither of us had any intention of buying but, 'oi troi oi' (Vietnamese for OMG), we had fun!  So much fun that we had to send a parcel home as we couldn't carry what we had purchased in our backpacks.

We asked our hotel manager how to best send a package home.  As we experience everywhere here in Vietnam, there is always a solution and the people are ever so helpful in making it happen.  We made an appointment to be in the lobby at 12:30 with the contents of our package.  Just as we showed up, two women on a motor scooter drove up like a SWAT team.  They disembarked, one started unfolding a cardboard box and taping it together while the other made us very speedily write down the contents and other pertinent information.  Meanwhile, the woman was packaging it up while Mary stood in disbelief making sure the fragile pieces were being packed appropriately.  No worries about that. We paid, the women gave us the tracking number, jumped on the motor scooter and were gone all within about 5 minutes.

On top of the shopping, the food is remarkable.  Hoi An is known for a few specialties and they have the tastiest, freshest and healthiest food we have had so far on our travels. Mary and I attended a phenomenal cooking class at Morning Glory (  After a tour of the market, learning about the fresh produce and meat/fish, we gathered at the state-of-the-art cooking classroom and learned how to prepare five different dishes.  A note to our dinner club in out!

Adding to our experiences, Mary and I had some massage treatments, rented bicycles and toured the local village that grows herbs and drank many to-die-for mango lassies.  Where was poor Jim during all this gallivanting about?  Blissfully attending a sunrise photography tour and roaming the streets taking pictures.  All alone. For 3 days (except for meals). Those who know Jim can imagine him saying, 'it doesn't get much better than this'.

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Sue Walker on

Wow, What a fun place, you girls must have been in your Glory, Cooking class, shopping, exploring. How wonderful. Who needs classrooms to learn! Travel brings us the best life experiences and knowledge.
Love Sue xo

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