Hue to Hoi An - shopping capital of the world

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On arriving at our destination the token tour rep boarded the bus and began telling us how wonderful his hotel/ company/ country was, blah blah blah.
Pat got off to survey the hotel and then got back on the bus to try the next stop, and the next stop, and the next stop until we found a cheap dwelling close to the centre and settled in. It wasn't long before we were off down the town to get us some new clothes


Nic is in heaven. We waltzed (well Nic did, Pat dragged his feet like a five year old kid) down the streets lined with row upon row of tailors, with each one offering designs straight from the Next catalogues or similar. Heaven! After wandering for a short while we settled on one shop. Foo was the girl who ran it and instantly began with her sales patter......Pat wasn't buying it, to the extent that he offended the girl by trying to haggle the price down even further, with comments of "my children will go hungry tonight because of your prices" and "I cant live for the next week" The girl became really worried that he was not happy with her service and almost looked tearful. The reality is that if she let her prices drop any more her family would go hungry and she knew it was highly unlikely that Pat was in that situation!!!! He is a cheeky monkey. He later apologised for his actions. Rightly so!

We had ;
Pat                                                                                      Nic
3 shirts linen/ cotton                                                           1 dress cotton
3 pair shorts cotton                                                            2 tops Lycra/cotton                      2 pair trousers linen                                                            2 pair long shorts linen
                                                                                           1 pair leather sandals
                                                                                           1 skirt cotton
All for the measly sum of 120 for the lot!

Later that afternoon we relaxed at a restaurant and took in the sights and sounds around us. The place is inspiring  and full of potential. It captured both our hearts and imaginations making us feel very safe and content. The architecture is beautiful with its towering slender structures ornately decorated with vibrant colours and undertones of French colonial style.
Looking up from our half filled glasses our eyes settled on two figures walking in our direction...It was Blake and Matt...Hurray! We whiled the night away again (not as much alcohol this time) and decided we would hire bikes again the next day and explore the area.

Quick check on the clothes to see if they fitted and then off we went with a bag full of new clothes and a bike full of petrol ready for the open road. We met the boys and decided it would be a poor show to ride in a pack again without a name. We thought for a while and then settled on the V.C's - the Viet Nam Cobra's
As we snaked our way through the countryside we hit a large road...this was quite a terrifying experience.  Huge lorries, buses and other vehicles tore down the dusty, unmarked  road and instead of braking they relied on repeatedly sounding deafening horns alerting you to move out of their way. If this failed they swerved into the path of oncoming traffic to avoid you (after all they are Buddhists and don't believe in mowing people down) whilst a man hung out of the door of the bus swinging his arms in an attempt to hit you. It is safe to assume that the bigger you are the more right you have to be there. It was while trying to keep up with the ride, avoid getting grit in her eyes and using every sense to stay alive, that a Vietnamese lady rode along side Nic..... "Hello! How are you? Where you from?" Nic responds "England" "Ahhhh Engerrland.... You go Marble Mountain?" "Yes" Nic replies, all still whilst trying to navigate the treacherous road ahead and not loose her friends. The lady continues "you come to my house (gestures behind her) I will look after your bikes....are they with you? (gestures ahead)" Nic nods and the lady accelerates with urgency to catch the boys. We had actually ridden past the turning to the marble mountains and we followed the lady back to them. Funnily enough her house was in the form of a shop selling marble carvings with marble taken from the very mountain that cast its shadow over us, and was also conveniently next to a cafe. How lucky. We were hungry so we ate there and then left our rented bikes in the hands of a stranger. After climbing over some very smooth and slippery marble rocks wearing inappropriate footwear in the form of flip flops, we returned back to the cafe and shop where we were enticed to further sample her wares just like that lady with the junk store in Last of the Summer Wine...they always bought something that they didn't need!!!
She had stuck to her word and our bikes were still safe and sound. She also told us about the new road which was new, much quieter, safer and quicker....or so we thought, whilst taking in the fine scenery we came across some roadworks and one particularly inpatient young chappy who drove past Matt and knocked him off as there was not enough space for the two of them. However, the boy did stop to help dust Matt down and apologies....silly boy, luckily Matt was OK so we headed back. This was to be the last time we saw Matt and Blake as we left that evening to catch our last overnight bus down the country. We will meet again some sunny day.
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