City of Tailors

Trip Start Mar 24, 2011
Trip End Sep 28, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

9am i booked a bus to Hoi An for 7pm and then went straight down to the beach to soak up some sun and chill out for a few hours. I got back to my hotel at six, took a shower and boarded the bus for an 11 hour journey (i really hate this and I'm not looking forward to the next bus ride which will be over 18 hours!!!). We stopped a couple of times for food before finally reaching Hoi An.

Absolutely shattered i found a guesthouse and booked myself in, although the room wouldn't be ready for another 2 hours. I left my bags in reception and went to the nearest coffee shop where i had some breakfast and nearly drank my bodyweight in lovely Vietnamese coffee. Two hours later i had the shakes and felt wired, so i went back to the guesthouse to see if any rooms were ready.

They didn't have any single rooms so i was given a double for the same price $7 a night. Somehow (after all that coffee) i fell asleep and woke up at about 4pm. I went for a walk for a couple of hours to get my bearings (i love this part of being somewhere new). On my walk back i rented a motorbike for $4 a day and drove around for a while before parking it up at the guesthouse.

It was about 9pm, i took a shower and headed out to the old part of town which was about a five minute walk. Sitting in a bar i ordered a beer... as it arrived so did Natalie and her friend Niamh (pronounced 'neve' apparently.. in Irish) randomness at it's best.

We chatted the night away and i called it a night about 1am

The previous night i had arranged to go to the beach (about a fifteen minute ride away) with Natalie and Naimh, so at about 10am we met up and i jumped on my bike whilst the girls hired pushbikes (far to hot in my opinion and i was glad i had a motor) on the way we passed acre after acre of rice fields with people planting new shoots in them. they waved as we rode past and then one of the guys in the field beckoned me over, i let the girls ride on ahead as i could easily catch them up. I walked along the narrow wall of one of the fields and the guy gave me a handful of rice plants and his hat and in Vietnamese and sign language he showed me how to plant the rice. The water was about six inches deep and warm, with soft squidgy mud at the bottom with i pushed the roots into. I had my camera in my hand and the guy wanted to take a photo of me doing his job, so i carried on planting the rice as he tried to use it, eventually he managed to get a photo and after about ten minutes i thanked him and left to catch up with the girls.

We rode the last five minutes together to beach and grabbed a couple of sunloungers before going for a dip in the sea. We lazed around in the sun for a couple of hours then rode back to the guesthouse for a few hours kip as i had got a little burned.

We all went to the same bar we were in the night before for a couple of drinks when someone told us about a beach party that was starting at midnight and there was a free minibus to take us there.

We got to the party and i headed to the sea with my drink it was a clear sky and you could see the stars, a planet or two and the moon shining brightly amongst the faint cloud-like glow of the milky way, it made the sea twinkle in the light. Then by my foot i saw what looked like a green speck (glowstick green) come in on a wave then slowly fade away as it washed out again. I wasn't quite sure what i had seen and dismissed it as a reflection of a star until i saw it again.

The girls then joined me and i told them i thought i had seen some bioluminescence in the waves, Natalie confirmed it and we decided to wade out into the sea where there were a few others doing the same. Each footstep lit up the sea with a green glow and the more forceful the movement the brighter the glow. I had read about it but i was actually in it under a perfect sky, it was absolutely amazing and something that will stay with me forever (apparently the Thai islands have an even stronger glow so i cant wait to see it again)

After about an hour of playing in the sea we headed back to the bar where i was allowed to play DJ for a couple of hours before we got motorbike taxis back to the guesthouse.

The next day Natalie left to head back to the UK and Niamh arranged her transport to Hanoi for the day after. I went to find a good tailor to get some clothes designed and measured up as i am running out of time if i want to get to this month's full moon party on Koh Phangan in Thailand.

The choosing and measuring took a few hours then i went back to the guesthouse to watch a couple of movies and get an early night.

My first fitting for the clothes was at 4pm so i spent the day walking around the old town which is really picturesque with pink flowered trees draping over shops and the roads. Most of the buildings here seem to have a damp problem so all the walls have black mold and flaky paint and look like they would crumble at any moment

Four o'clock came round and i went to the tailors to try the clothes on that i had ordered. Two pairs of jeans, some linen trousers, two shirts and two sets of shorts came to $120... you really cant argue with that!

The shirts and shorts fitted first time and the trousers only need adjusting at the waist to be complete, not bad for less than a 24 hour turnaround! I was leaving at 2pm the next afternoon and my second fitting for the trousers was at 11am so they were cutting it fine (if you excuse the pun).

I got some food and watched TV in my room til i fell asleep, i have a long bus journey ahead of me tomorrow (hopefully the last).

I woke at ten and went to get my clothes sorted, everything fitted so i returned to the guesthouse and tried to fit everything in my bag. It just about fitted and i vacated my room to wait for the bus.

The bus turned up on time and i squeezed myself in the midget sized seat for the longest most uncomfortable journey of the trip so far... 18 hours unable to move surrounded by Americans (they really should give yanks an IQ test before they let them out of the country... Howard Marks is not English ... you are reading the book for god's sake!...and If you went to a beach in Cambodia how can it be above Laos?)

I am writing this whilst i am on the bus, i cant feel my legs, my arse has gone to sleep and a Vietnamese kid is going to lose his teeth if he screams or kicks my chair again (can you tell i don't like being couped up)

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