Apple Strudel In Asia
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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Asia time kicks in again as we try to make our way to Hoi An. The van that was to deliver us to the bus stop arrived 50 minutes late. But no worries- the bus itself was also running late so we perched ourselves on plastic stepping stools on the road out front of the 'bus stop' which was actually a ticketing agent and women's clothing store (wonder who it was that woke up one day and decided that what this town really needed was a combo bus stop and women's apparel shop??). At 11:20am, we are on the 8 am bus to Hoi An but that was just the start.
The bus was a two story sleeper that is normally used for long distance overnight travel and we have seen these throughout Asia
Your first impression is that you're entering the filming of a commercial for Order-Eaters Foot Powder- the seating is less seating and more an interconnected series of double-decker bunk beds for Santa's elves. Since we weren't the first ones on the bus, there were already people in the prone position with sock feet sticking out everywhere- backpacker sock feet, sock feet just out of beat up hiking boots, socks that hadn't seen a laundry in days/weeks- you do the math. A plastic yellow bag is handed to you and the bus driver barks out something that was easily translated , "shoes in bag." Since the bus was almost full there was some scampering of the overnight passengers to move their "stuff" in order to accommodate the 12 of us newbies. I found two vacant beds/ seats side by side, which were crammed next to a young girl whose parents were just in front of us. We were sort of positioned like we were lounging as Vic and I couldn't fully stretch out. Strange position to be in but believe it or not, I did sleep a little. Apparently in China, these buses are the worst mode of transportation, as smokers and spitters are among the many passengers they pile on board (we only had the odour to deal with in Vietnam). Three hours later we were in Hoi An.
At the bus depot/side-of-the-road Vic did opt to walk again but after running the gauntlet of scams here, I silenced my pleas for a cab to the hotel and we hoofed it
We stop in our tracks as Vic spots a sign at a German bakery promoting homemade apple strudel- in like a shot- best I have ever had, hand to God. We wander around for a while and then stop at a cafe for a couple of Lattes- best so far in Vietnam. I love this, meandering, exploring, observing and enjoying small town Vietnam.
As darkness falls, the Full Moon Festival takes shape, the town becomes magical, dream like
The second day we have a late breakfast at the hotel, eggs (every single day we have had eggs), fruit (including pineapple, small bananas, watermelon and, I believe, dragon fruit), a small French baguette, and orange juice. After a couple of lukewarm lattes at a cafe, we continue our self guided walking tour of this town. This is the place to have your clothes tailor made. Both Vic and I would have been all over this a couple of years ago but now its tank tops and t-shirts. The numerous tailor shops are filled with travelers being fitted for all manner of clothing. Just by looking at a pair of too-small flip flops I was advised they could make me a pair in the right size by tomorrow morning
We have a great afternoon on the bikes, rice fields, schools, markets, street restaurants, all observed from our bikes. We even made it to the famous "China Beach" where US military were sent for R and R (although I think the real China Beach is further up the coast).
Now, we are by no means connoisseurs of fine food, we don't cook, and we are the farthest from traveling "foodies" as you can get but lately we have been eating well outside of our safety zone. Even Deb B. would be proud of us. Taking advice from the two Aussie train bunk-mates we keep running into, we find a restaurant with a " set menu" as they call it with dishes made famous in Hoi An.
Menu For The Night
Cau Lau Pork
White Rose Dumplings
Hoi An spring rolls with vegetable
Grilled chicken ( Vic had the duck)
Ice flan for dessert:
Sorry there is no history lesson, interesting facts or observations of bizarre behavior here, just a quaint, relaxing, quiet passage for us, although we have certainly eaten our way through Hoi An, and that is a first for us! We waddle back to the hotel with full stomachs after saying goodnight and goodbye to the Full Moon of Hoi An.