Hoi An

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Arrived in Hoi Ann on the 18th after a 3 hour bus ride from Hue, which went by China Beach (from the movie) and Marble Mountain.  So many houses looked like they are in disrepair and vacant but almost look like they have been burned. Much land is taken up with lots of huge burial grounds with elaborate temple like structures built over graves.  Big airplane hangars off the highway which housed airplanes during the Vietnam War (here called the "American War". Arrived without accommodation and bus stopped at a Guesthouse and everyone piled off. Guesthouse owners asking people if they needed a place to stay; I think I'm the only one that said 'yes'. Whisked me upstairs to a room before I had a chance to change my mind - looked very nice; double room, air con, tv, windows and I said it was nice but there were a couple I had marked on my map I wanted to check out. He was so disappointed and said "no, no this nice room, stay here!" He seemed like a nice guy so I said ok,. Then room phone rang and he answered it  as why would it be for me? He says a few things in Vietnamese and then hands phone to me and I think who would be calling me here, no one in the world knows where I am right now! and it was the front desk   They had already booked that room for someone else that night! but they would take me, by motorcycle taxi to another 'very nice guesthouse'. So I said ok, what else could I do and they were most apologetic. So off I go on the back of a motorcycle (that's the way I was transported to ferry boat in Hue as well) along with my big backpack, which was placed in front of the driver between him and the handlebars. Off we go roaring down the busy Vietnamese streets and I am closing my eyes.... beep beep all the time.. but we arrived and yes indeed it was another nice Guesthouse! (Hai Pho) even with a huge shared open walkway looking toward street and trees.  And I got it (double room, aircon, tv etc.) for $7/US per night! They are great people running it, two women who each work 24 hour shifts, sparing each other off. 
Developed a cold in Hue and ran to Pharmacy just before 8 a.m bus for some Strepsils as my coughing kept me up all night and had sore throat.  Over the next 2 days in Hoi Ann, didn't subside and during a visit to a Museum my ear started to throb like an ear infection, and I decided I better get back to my Hai Pho Guesthouse.  I took a couple of Ibuprofen and went to bed and was up coughing all night, throat still sore but my ear stopped throbbing.   The next day I was visiting the Japanese Bridge and all of a sudden  I felt very feverish so decided to go to the hospital to see a doctor  - I took a guy up on his offer of 'cyclo, Madame'? and said yes to the hospital, please. He carefully helped me into the seat (in front of a bicycle) and as it was raining, he covered me up with the plastic sheet and off we went for the 15 or so minutes to the hospital, he cycling, me in the little compartment. He helped me out when we got there and a nurse came out to help me as well (they didn't appear to have much to do!) and he said he would wait for me.  They took info, blood test, xray and I saw a doctor. Within an hour I was diagnosed with bronchitis, given 4 different types of medicines, paid $45 US and nurse called a taxi. I went out to get into taxi and here is my cyclo driver waiting for me in the waiting room!  He was bound and determined I was to come with him and taxi driver was too, so here I was, feeling very sick and had to choose between them! I took cyclo as he seemed quite concerned (although fleeced me on what he charged me! 
Was planning to go to My Son 'Cham' period temple but it rained a lot, and I thought it would not be good me, as my energy level was pretty low. I enjoyed the cooler temps of Hoi An, and it is a beautiful ancient port, with many UNESCO preserved buildings of the 15-16th century, including Chinese meetings halls etc. and family houses, still in the same family after 6 centuries.
Left March 22th on the 8 am bus for Danang and then 14:00 overnight train to Hanoi, where I am now. Will update that tomorrow!

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