(posted by Megan):
As Ju has already pointed out, we fell in love with Hoi An! The city has a really friendly feel to it and is full of delightful cafes, hundreds of tailors, souvenir shops, art galleries, shoe shops and craft shops. We spent hours being measured for clothes and have both bought new wardrobes (including winter coats, shirts, skirts, suits, pj’s, shorts…etc). I sent home 14kgs and Julia sent 10kgs to her Dad in Thailand. Given that our packs only weighed 12kgs each we did go a little crazy.
To be fair, we did TRY to do walking tour one day to take in a bit of the history of the town and see some temples…..but…. we got distracted half way by the pretty clothes and consequently abandoned the walking tour to go shopping! Ooops
Another one of the great things about Hoi An is the food. There are a couple of local dishes that we tried, Cau Lao – a doughy flat noodle dish with bean sprouts and herbs topped off with smoked pork slices. The cool thing about Cao Lau is that for it to be ‘official’ the water has to come from the local well which dates from Cham times. We also tried White Rose – a delicious prawn dumpling… yum yum yum.
While in Hoi An we decided to give a cooking class a go. Although Julia was a bit nervous (she thinks she is a crap cook) we thought it might be fun. So we turned up at one of the local cafes at 8am, split into small groups to take a tour of the market, Our leader was a full trickster, his name was Phi and he spoke excellent English with a very strong Aussie accent (despite having never been to Australia or New Zealand). Phi took us around the Hoi An market introducing us to fruit and vegetables, herbs, rice, seafood and fish sauce commonly used in Vietnamese cooking.
After the market, we jumped in a boat and cruised down the river to the cooking school where we had a fun filled morning making all sorts of delicious dishes. At the end of our cooking session we had a go at food making some some food decoration art (a tomato rose and a cucumber fan). That was a bit of a laugh but we both did quite well!
For more details about the course we did check out: www.visithoian.com/redbridge.html So after cooking school we went for a wander, went back to our tailiors for a fitting and then had dinner at the cafe where the cooking school is based. Phi (who like most of the Vietnamese guys) had taken a liking to me, asked if we’d like to play some pool after he finished work at 9pm. We said we’d like to and then he disappeared for a wee while. When he came back he surprised me with a carving of a rabbit made out of carrot. It was really sweet. He had a real crush on me!
We went to the pub to play some pool. We played pool for a bit, then some of the other guys from the cooking school joined us…. in the end I had 3 of them all vying for my attention! The Vietnamese guys seem to genuinely really like me, its quite cool to be the center of attention (I feel like a princess). Poor Ju though, she was just ignored and consequently got a bit bored! Oh well, she had her fun in Halong Bay! ; )