Wednesday 20th August – can’t believe it’s our fifteenth day already!
This morning we woke up quite easily and waited to investigate the beach so had breakfast and were on the free hotel bicycles by 9am. You think it’s going to be really scary and dangerous on a bike with scooters and cars and trucks zooming past you, all with their constant bibbing – but once you get into the flow it’s not half as bad as you imagine. And make sure you ring that bell as much as everyone else uses their horn! It was so nice to have a breeze cycling along and you obviously get places much much quicker and less sweaty. Well, slightly less sweaty at least. I thought I’d be smart and wear my cone hat as it’s fantastic protection for your head, face and shoulders, and I was feeling pretty confident until about fifteen minutes in a gust of wind made it fall forward over my face and I could only come to an abrupt stop to remove it. Haha it was pretty funny but only because there were no nearby trucks or buses to squish me.
We set off again and left the town and rode through paddy fields, such pretty scenery, and after about 25 minutes easy riding we arrived at the famous beach named An Bang. There are two main beaches here, this is the one that’s not run by resorts and with tons of watersports and it’s true, you’ve got so much room as there are only a few people around. Well at 10am anyway. We left our bikes in a lady’s parking lot for peanuts and fought our way through looooads of women trying to sell us their ‘free’ sunbeds then we eat in their restaurant later. This was before we’d even stepped foot on sand. We allowed one lady on the beach to tell us her price but it was three times the amount we’d heard from the Dutch couple so we just parked our gear right on the waters edge and jumped in the sea. It’s much calmer in this area than at Da Nang – less waves and that makes the water appear even clearer, plus it was a little cooler too which was so refreshing after the ride there. I’m slowly turning into a sea person now by the way, starting to enjoy going out even on my own. Big deal for me! We happily spent the morning in and out of the sea, got some nice tans going on, Javi helped some local fishermen drag their bamboo basket boat out of the sea and then hunger kicked in and we did end up eating at one of the beach restaurants. My beef burger was the best I’ve ever had – they do beef REAL good over here!
We were both pretty tired from all morning in the sun but we got back on our trusty (and bloody heavy) hotel bikes and off we went. This time when we got to the paddy fields we turned onto one of the tracks that cut through them. It was absolutely lovely to feel so peaceful cycling on a gravel dirtpath with deep streams flowing either side of you and the bright green grass of the rice all around you. So so tranquil. Loved it. This track took us to what Javi called ‘Beverley Hill’ of Hoi An – a wide road with a nice grassy barrier in the middle of the two lanes with trees and flowers and proper foliage on it, and nice neat little house on either side. It was rather nice and a breather from the very busy main road.
Not too long later we arrived back at the hotel, stumbled off our bikes with sore bums, and… yep, straight into the pool. Well a quick jungle shower first to get the sand off – a giant rain shower in the middle of huge banana plants so hidden it took me a minute to find the tap. Javi popped up to the room and we had a little note saying the tailors were waiting for us for the fitting, oo er!
Needless to say, after cooling off and having showers we set off for the tailors. It’d started to rain and the sky suddenly turned a very ominous dark grey so we jumped in the free hotel bus that goes to the beach a few times a day (amazing service). When we arrived it seemed to be the time everyone else had chosen to try their clothes on too so we had to wait for about 20 minutes but I entertained myself with the shop dog – a 5 month Samoyed pup. He was gorgeous and spotless but really needs training as he got too excited and was munching on my fee, arms and hands with his brand new adult teeth – ouch. Only playing, silly pup. We tried on our things and Javi looked just amazing in his 3-piece suits. My dress was lovely too, the white and purple combo I chose was so rich. The same lady, Thoa, made a few chalk marks where adjustments needed to be made and that was it, come collect them tomorrow! So professional.
By now the rain had got a bit more serious so we grabbed a taxi (for like less than a euro) and retreated back to the hotel. It was dark ahead of time today due to the storm so we sat by the pool undercover and had a few local beers (I know, I’m not a beer drinker at all but it’s very cheap and very refreshing over here). The pool still looked pretty with raindrops splashing everywhere. I caught up with my blogs (this one brings me up to date, phew) and we decided to just have dinner in the hotel restaurant. Javi had delicious sea bass and I had pepper chicken cooked and served in a bamboo flute with rice noodle soup. God it was scrumptious.
After dinner we had a quick gin and tonic out by the pool again and a trainee member of staff came and had a lovely little chat with us. He was so cute and said we couldn’t forget his name – Nam. We had a great conversation about our lives, his life, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh, food etc. He was so sweet and excelling in his training in my opinion. We sat for a while more listening to the noisy frogs and now… bedtime at last. Cycling is tiring!