It was lovely to have a day that wasn’t so scripted, to be able to chill a little and do my own thing. My lurgy was still raging but I decided that although I should probably rest up while I could there was also a town out there that needed exploring and you never know if/when you are going to visit again. I had my breakfast and headed out to do a spot of exploring at my own pace.
As I headed from the hotel on the walk into town I was stopped by a girl getting off the back of a scooter who walked with me as I ambled along the road towards the town. We chatted and of course she was wanting me to visit her shop as she was a dressmaker. Well that was job no 1 sorted – to find a dress maker and have some clothes made, because I could. As I’m still trying my hardest to loose some weight it was pointless in trying to get anything too jazzy or expensive and so some basics were on my agenda. Having been measured up to the nines on the top half, I chose a couple of tops including a traditional style top instead of a dress which had beautiful lanterns all over it – apt for the town I was in, it was a no brainier! As I was wrapping up my choices and paying I saw someone else having a try on of a dress that I thought might be quite useful too so I asked for that as well. From here I also went on to have some sandals made two the same and in different colours. An extravagance but I’m looking forward to saying that I had them made in Vietnam!!
From here I went to see the market as we were told it was better to go in the morning as there weren’t many trading in the afternoon. The heavens opened and I was glad to have managed to have got the pac-a-mac just in time else I’d have been drenched through. It was wonderful seeing all the fruits, veg and meat all laid out as well as the fish and other bits and pieces. I’m not sure that food hygiene is a massive thing out here, it all I could think of as well as how fresh everything looked.
Having had a further amble and understanding of actually quite how small the town is and how it was going to be easy to see the old part of it at total ease in a day. I headed back to the hotel to have my massage and pedicure that I had booked. It’s always pretty hard having a massage when you are totally blocked up but to the amusement of the masseuse I shoved a tissue up each nostril and put some more tissues by my shoulder and lay down ready for my full body massage. It was wonderful, really good to get some knots and tension out even if it felt slightly odd having the lady almost sitting on top of me while she did it.
I had a shower once is finished to get all the oil off and wash my hair and sorted myself out for the remainder of the day out and about seeing the sights of the town. Dosed up on yet more meds that were frankly doing absolutely nothing to ease the symptoms as far as I could tell.
I headed back out to have my afternoon amble and see some more of this quaint little place. I visited the Old Chinese Assembly Hall that Hung had recommended which was beautiful but TOTAL Death by Incense which properly got to the back of my throat. It was nice to be able to do things at my own pace I must say.
There is quite a Chinese influence in a number of the buildings as there as when the Chinese settled here they identified them selves according to their province back home and as a result each community built their own assembly halls which all remain today. There is also the Japanese covered bridge, first constructed in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them to the Chinese quarters. It was flattened out for cars to use by the French but it has thankfully since been restored to its arched shape. There are alters or rather fairly weathered statues of dogs one end and monkies the other, thought to be because it was built in the year f one and finished in the other or because many of the Emperors of Japan were born in these years.
Because of the location Hoi An is totally vulnerable to flooding and the lady who encouraged me to go to her dressmakers was telling me and showing me how high it can come up and how quickly they have to move to stop all their stock from being ruined. It was fascinating and thankfully not something that we experienced while we were there. Here are some general photos of the town, hopefully it will give you an idea of how stunning it was & kind of why I fell in love with it.
On my amblings I ran into two of the group – Paul & Chris who had spent most of their day sitting and people watching in the same bar by the river in the sunshine. They were rather pink! I joined them for a few more beers and people watching tasting massive bits of ginger from street sellers and generally giggling lots before they went off for massages and a rest before coming out later to collect their jackets that they were having made that day as well.
I went to collect my clothes too and was really pleased with them & the shoes I’d had made too – I did ask for a couple of amends to the clothes, a chinese style traditional top needed letting out a little and the basic dress I had, I wanted the sleeves slightly shorter so they were delivered back to the hotel for me to pick up when I got back after supper.