After settling into our hotel, we embark on a pleasant walk around this small city, trying to walk off milkshakes and cheap larger, to make our podgy selves feel better. This place, is perhaps the city of the hawker (although there have been many places to rival it), it has a famous old town, and used to be a port, but is now big on clothes selling, and fashion design (As well as arts and crafts), and it is hard, when your not meant to be buying anything to keep your dusty wallet in your pocket (maybe harder for Kate than me, but her pack is so full I already have to lay on it for her to get it closed)
. After getting lost, we were shown the way to the oldest temple in Hoi Ann called Chuc Thanh Pagoda by some young kids (14), whilst answering the usual questions, From? Name? How long? DAVID BECKHAM!? (He must surly be the name I hear most when mention I'm from England). After walking around the temple with the kids, we decide to make our way into town, the kids want money "for their coin collection", 'na mate, do one', oh ok have 10Baht. Am I becoming a cold-hearted git, or was I already one. Anyway, Kate takes a picture of a lady two mins down the road, she poses and then wants a dollar, Kate gives her something considerably smaller, this would not be the last time that someone asks us to take there picture. There is no bitterness here, everyone is just trying to make a little cash, just like anywhere in this world, and we have the dollar sign printed on our head, I think here it is a little more in your face, but if you can just give everyone a smile and thanks, generally that'll be that, and you'll get a big smile back. My favorite hawkers happen when you just hear a shout, "hey hey, hello, hello!", you look around there is a guy about 100m away waving you and smiling, then, "motorbike sir", if he thinks you can't hear him, he'll do the actions too. No day is boring, and the hawkers are really inventive, so you don't even realize that you wanted 4 suits all made to measure and a trip round town on a motorbike.
Anyway we walked around the old town, browsing, but not buying, walking and not biking. The town has a busy market, and a small river running through it, which opens up onto a bigger river. We visited a few small temples, like the Tam Bao Pagoda, the Japanese bridge, and just generally loitering with intent. In the afternoon, we saw some more local music (for tourists), and a very pretty old house, which had been in the family for over 200 years
. The house had beautiful furniture, which had to be moved upstairs in the wet season every year, as the place has serious flooding. A lot off the town has been revamped to look as it did over a century ago, but this of course means that there are added costs whilst entering them. There is a real blend of cultures here, between Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese. Hoi An is the fist Chinese settlement in Vietnam.
Next morning we went to My Son (I think named by Dell Boy), which are Cham temples from a long time ago, they were very Ankor Watty, but less imposing, but that's an unfair comparison. They were built between the 7th and 12th century by Hindu worshippers, and several are completely destroyed by American bombing, or at least that's what we were told. It was very beautiful, and nice to have a guide with some information, and the backdrop was again stunning, just constant reminders that your in Vietnam. After the temples we spent an hour or so on a boat cruise and lunch, before returning back to town, where the plan is to relax before moving on. Must pick up the pace, if we are to keep on top of time.
After at 12-hour night bus (veterans), we arrive in Hoi An about 6am. The bus always takes you to hotels that give them the special handshake; most people tired take the first thing that comes along. Danny and Kate hardened travelers (hum), bumble about looking for a hotel that fits in to our price range, or the packs become too heavy.