Hoi an is by the far the niest place we have stayed. The old town is full of buildings no mroe than 2 floor high. All are covered in carved wooded balconies and balustrades, shutters and creeping plants. The streets are all in a grid pattern though, and each narrow lantern covered streets looks like the last, thus we found ourselves lost on a numbere of occasions. Our first full down in hoi an, alec took a bike to the see the marble mountains and me and emily rented a motorbike to see the market and beach that was 4km east of town. We navigated through the streets and parked on the pavement. After walking through a market full of clothing stores, fabric shops and lines of woman kneeling on the ground washing fruit, chopping raw fish and meat into bowels and weaving baskets, a large woman started talking to us and insisted we see her shop. She was a tailor - one of over 100 in the small town. We saw down in her shop, she gave us drinks and shoved a series of catalogues in our faces. She said that if we pick anything out of the catalogue, she and her family would replicate it. Obviously we were hesitant at first. Her name was emma, and she kept on saying 'Dont worry, if you happy emma happy. Be happy'. With a lot of self control.... i ended up ordering a pair of jeans, a pair of linen trousers and a nice blue shirt. Emily settled on a dress, a couple of blouses and a cardigan. We paid and left feeling quite proud of ourselves that we managed to get custom made clothes so cheaply (albeit clothes we didnt actually need). With that, we strolled around a bit more and found a fantastic little bakery on one of the street corners. I got myself a small pasison fruit chessecake and emily, a slice of chocolate mousse cake (we visited this bakery a further 3 times during our short stay in the town) we biked to the beach front. The beach was lined with palm trees and the sand was soft. However, it was also incredibley windy, overcast and around 15 degrees, so the beach was far from an attractive place as mahoosive waves crashed on sand blew all across the road.
We had a sandwich in a cafe opposite just as we saw alec pass us on his bike and we told him about our adventures. He told us me and emily should never be left alone again and he would never have bought anything from emmas shop. Anyhoo, the next day we went to view the clothes they made us. I ordered another shirt, emily ordered another dress, and alec walked out with a suit. Minutes later emily ALSO walked out with a suit. Again, feeling quite content we went back to the bakery.
A few days after our arrival, a bakery and a full warderobe later, we boarded the bus which would take us the rest of the LOOOONG journey up the coast to hanoi.
We arrived in hanoi around 8.30 am. Our hotel is cheap but is down a smallish alleyway which is lined, once again, with masive bowels of leaves, noodles, and chopped meat and fish. Hanoi from what we have seen is nto as impressive as other places. Maybe we have simply beein spoilt by the beauty and the peace of hoi an. We will stay in hanoi for a couple of days before making our way slightly east, possible to cat baa island. From here we can travel to halong bay and vietnam floating villages....