February 14, 2013
Hoi An isn’t very far from Da Nang, so we took advantage and tried to sleep in. Chandler isn’t very good at sleeping in, but he left so quietly, I was able to. When he returned around 9, he had bought 2 roses for me for Valentine’s day. What a sweet guy!
We ate a delicious meal at our hotel and were ready to go. While Chandler paid, I had a good time watching a boy try and help his sister learn to roller blade. Despite falling a lot, them appeared to be having fun.
The ride to Hoi An was OK. Theoretically, it followed the coast south, but pretty much the entire left side of the road was either gated sea side resorts, or land set aside for future sea side resorts, with big metal walls preventing us from seeing anything. It turned out to be one of the less scenic rides of the trip so far. There was a interesting temple perched up on a limestone crag, but there was a modern elevator structure next to it and a bunch of buses, so we figured it might have just been a tourist trap.
We rolled into the Hoi An around noon. Finding an affordable hotel was tricky. We tend to be a little picky and aren’t willing to pay for somewhere that smells like mold or cigarettes. After four attempts, we settled on the first place we looked at, which was pretty far out of town.
This turned out to be OK. Hoi An is a pretty small town, but it was completely over run with tourists. The streets closest to the river were packed with people taking pictures, buying souvenirs and just wandering. We found it too difficult to ride our bikes through the crowds, but many local vietmanese didn’t seem hindered on their motorbikes, horns blaring of course.
Chan had done some brief research ahead of time about local food and discovered the local specialty, Cao Lau. It turns out that this is no secret with pretty much every restaurant in town serving up some variation of it. Unfortunately, this is a meaty dish so I could not enjoy it too. The noodles are what make it stand out. They are thick yellow noodles apparently dyed with the ash of a local tree. The noodles are served in a bit of broth with slices of pork and pork cracklings, along with a bunch of leafy greens. This picture is of the first Cao Lau Chan had, which he declared far superior to all the rest he ordered while in town.
Our friend, Leonie, had taken an Easy Rider Motorbike tour from Dalat to Hoi An, so we were really hoping she was still in town. I emailed her the moment we had Internet. Right when we were about to leave for dinner, she responded. Yeah!
We had a lovely dinner and then went to a bar for a few Valentine’s day drinks. It was really nice hanging out with Leonie again. She had some interesting stories to tell us. We were so happy to be able to meet up again.
We ended up staying out really late, and the hotel had already closed the gate. A staff member was up waiting up for us. I felt like we had been caught sneaking in past curfew.