We were given another wake up call courtesy of our best mate downstairs to let us know our breakfast was ready. Bleary eyed and rocking some stylish bed hair, we trudged up to the roof for our – now standard – egg, ham, salad sandwhich concoction.
When we were done we returned to our room where we packed our bags, showered and cleaned up the room a bit (just to look good when they checked it later). We had already paid for the hotel when we booked it, so when it came to checking out all we had to oay for was a bottle of water sarah took from the minibar. We were handed our passports and asked if they’d sort a taxi out for us. Not long after asking, one randomly pulled up outside, with that a member of staff arranged a price with the driver, making sure we didn’t get ripped off. We were going to get a bus (which would have been significantly cheaper at 30, 000) but thought we’d pay the 390, 000 dong for piece of mind, as a taxi would take us right to the door.
Inside the taxi we showed the driver the name of our hotel, at first, like every driver, he said he knew the way but had to stop half way down the road to ask a fellow cabbie for directions. Hoi An was only a half an hour drive from Da Nang, however, even with directions it took a little while longer for our driver to locate the hotel, all the while the metre was increasing. When we eventually located the building the metre read 420, 000 dong, thinking we were about to get in an argument I was prepared for the worst, fortunately the driver was happy to accept the agreed price (something that wouldn’t have happened in Hanoi).
As we climbed out from the car, one of the hotel’s concierge was quick to take up our bags from the boot, leaving us to check in. We recieved our room key and followed the little man up the stairs. He did look quite funny carrying both of our large rucksacks, he kind of resembled a tortoise as I am pretty sure my bag was the same height as him. We climbed to flights of stairs until we reached our room, he came in and showed us how everything worked such as the air con, tv and minibar. Thank goodness he did that as we wouldn’t have known how to do any of those things, especially the opening of the fridge, I imagine even the greatest minds would struggle with the complexities of a fridge door, or the turning on of a television set (if you didn’t know by now, I am being sarcastic). Still not understanding if we were supposed to tip a man we didn’t request, and essentially did something we could have done ourselves, Sarah paid him regardless. He was happy enough to take the money, then left our room with a smile on his face, bless him.
With our bags dropped off we decided to explore the grounds of our rather large…. resort I guess you’d call it. We followed the signs for the pool (as lets face it, that’s where everyone heads to first). stumbling across it, we discovered only two people sunbathing, so seising the chance – clearly no Germans here hogging up the sun beds – we located a spare lounger and began flicking through the lonely planet guide to see what there was to do in the area.
There were a few things which caught our eyes, so we decided to ask at reception to see if they had any day trips. The ladies behind the desk were quite helpful, if not slightly rude. We booked a half day trip through the hotel for the next day to My Son.
There was a shuttle service which ran every hour and would take the hotel’s guests into town, seeing as the town was only a fifteen minute walk away we decided to skip the half an hour wait and go it by foot.
It didn’t take very long at all to reach the town centre, however, along the way we were hassled every few feet by people trying to sell us tailor made clothes. Unlike Bangkok, these people had evolved to annoy you by push bike, meaning even if you said ‘no thank you’ and walked a bit faster they’d still keep up with you. Great!
The streets were a littke confusing at first because the main roads blended in to side streets and visa versa, but with the help of a map we managed to navigate our way around. It was close to dinner time when we were done looking around the markets and side streets, so we decided to go for food. We happened to be outside of a restaurant named ‘Mermaid’ which we discovered was a recommended place to eat in the lonely planet guide. My spaghetti Bolognese was delicious, which made me believe I should have ordered a pizza if they were so able to master an Italian dish.
Sarah however, was not so satisfied. After a few bites of a seemingly delicious Chicken Salad, she suddenly sat back, looking a little pale and quite disgusted…. Sitting peacefully among the leaves was a caterpillar…. Silver lining… At least it was still whole! Needless to say, the salad was swiftly sent back to the kitchen, thus ending the ‘healthy’ kick she’d entered for the day. Thankfully they didn’t add salt into the wound, and removed the salad from the bill. No tip for you Mermaid despite your amazing spaghetti! I guess it just goes to show you can’t trust everything you read, even in a tour guide…Lonely Planet, you have some work to do before we start trusting you again!!
Alongside an ever queazy Sarah, we continued to explore more of the market, this time walking along the docks. We stopped in for dessert at another place where Sarah ordered a banana pancake, this time however, instead of a caterpillar, she found a whole monkey on her plate…… just kidding. During dessert I made friends with a little white kitten, I got its attention at one point by waving my fingers around beside my chair, feeling it hit them with it’s paw. My initial reaction was RABIES….. Fortunately its claws weren’t out and there was nothing to worry about, plus, it was too cute to have been a threat to anyone (which is clearly how most people bitten by rabies infected animals justify their reasons for playing with them) I then made it a little ball to play with using a napkin from the table, which it continued to hit around even after we left.
We continued down past the docks hoping to see one of the popular sights of Hoi An, the …… bridge but, alas, Lonely Planet you have failed us again! As the obvious cheap skates that we are, the ‘free’ bridge was an obvious draw…. except for the fact that it wasn’t free. After being laughed at by the ticket guide for our ‘outdated’ guide book (clearly much has changed in the 3 month period since the damn book was published) we left, both agreeing that we would visit the bridge another time, and walked back to the hotel… stopping for a cheeky M&M purchase along the way!
Since the salad attempt #1 had failed, Sarah decided she wanted to go in the pool, obviously keen to burn off those extra calories she’d consumed while munching on what we assumed to be the caterpillars family. While she tried her best to encourage me to join in, I stood my ground, saying I’d just watch her like a prod parent would their child. You may call me boring… But i like to think that dedicated is a more appropriate term given that I sacrificed that cool dip to work on the blog, which had decided to start deleting itself. After countless lengths Sarah got too cold….. and slightly bored as well I’d imagine, then returned to the room. I followed her wet footprints back not long after. I wasn’t in the room long before I decided to check out what was happening with my blog on the hotel’s computers. After an hour and a half-to-two hours my worst fears came true. Somehow along the way I had lost days 49, 50, 51, 54 and 56, roughly translated that was around eight to ten hours work and seven to ten thousand words. This wasn’t the first time I had lost my writing, but it was the first time I wasn’t able to get it back. Really frustrated and angry I returned to the room to tell Sarah the bad news. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to relax and it was going to take a while before I could calm down again.
Not long after returning to the room, I caught the end of the Harry Potter movie Sarah was watching on the tv. She did her best to cheer me up but when you lose something that you put so much time and energy into it leaves a very bad taste in your mouth.
Speaking of which, she then suggested we go out for food, I didn’t want to do anything then apart from get back the lost work. I did agree thinking it would distract me for a while, however, I just ended up being the worst dinner guest in the world. I only ordered something small to eat as that’s all I felt like having, and when my chicken skewer showed up I suddenly felt hungry enough to enjoy it. During dinner, somehow, we were able to connect to Facebook on my phone using the restaurant’s WiFi. I had a couple of messsges waiting for me on there, one of which was from Jamie (our friend from Halong Bay). He was asking us how we were and where we decided to go for Christmas, he also said how he was currently in Nah Trang. That was fortunate as Nah Trang was where we had in mind for Christmas, so I wrote back asking what his opinion on the place was, as supposedly it was Vietnam’s version of Ibiza. We didn’t have long at the restaurant, as we had arrived to town via shuttle bus and had to be back within forty minutes to catch the return ride. We just made it back in time for the lady to phone for the final bus, it arrived within five minutes of the call and before we knew it we were back at the hotel. In the lobby I showed sarah what had happened to the blog, sadly we couldn’t do anything to correct the loss, so I can only apologise for what has happened. While we were on the computers, Sarah asked the lady behind the counter if she could get her onto Facebook, the lady said no as the computers were too Slough…. I think she meant slow but who knows? Cheekily, the woman was using Facebook herself behind the counter, so she clearky knew something we didn’t. We soon returned to our room, where after a quick shower, I spent the next two hours typing up this particular blog which I really hoped would save!!!!!!!!!