Monday, December 29, 2008

12.25.08 Hoi An Redemption Day.....

To be quite honest, paul and I were not feeling the vibe here in hoi an. We had heard from many people that it was great and a wonderful place to visit. At this point, we weren’t so sure. It had been raining since we arrived. Although not constant, just constantly kind of drippey. The food we have taken the time to find had been a letdown. Paul was ready to move on and was really struggling to be here.

Paul arranged for a hotel in Ho Chi Minh city and then we went out for lunch at Light Candle Restaurant. We had cao lao which is becoming my favorite thing to ear here in Hoi An. We made a pit stop at the tailor and then went shopping in old town. So fun! We walked the streets and looked at lots of things. I had wanted to stop back at this shop called Reaching Out. The shop helps disabled locals learn crafts and then sells the good in the shop at fair trade prices. It was so cool. Paul and I did almost all of our Christmas shopping at this place. The best part is that they even ship to America, so we already shipped the goodies to the US. Fun times! We had so much fun shopping here and supporting a wonderful cause. We even got to walk through the workshop and see artists in action. Some were making lacquer ware pieces; others were doing embroidery, some making metal works, and others working on stitching table runners and things of that sort. It was a really great experience.

On the walk back to the tailor, Paul and I took pictures of textures on walls and other patterns. It was fun! We also took some fun pics of each other. When we got to the tailor I got to try on the clothes she made for me. I am not overly impressed with the pants, but they will work. My favorite piece that she made was my new wool coat that is dark olive green. It is gorgeous and fits great. I cannot wait to wear it in Seoul. Paul had two pairs of long shorts made…he does not really care either way. He was just happy to have some shorts to wear since the weather has been so wet and drippey.

We went back to the Hoi An day spa again. I had a deluxe manicure and pedicure with the works which was nice. It was nice to relax and sit there and be pampered. J Paul had more neck, shoulder, and head massages. He was in heaven. It was great.

The best part of the day was the place we had dinner. The owner of the spa recommended it, and even had two ladies from the spa staff take us there on scooters. It was little cart in a dark alley with small plastic stools (a foot off the ground) with matching plastic tables. It was dark and very local. We were surrounded by local folks all of who were friendly and smiled as we sat down. Paul and I both had cao lao as the spa guy said this was the second best place in Hoi An to have it. The napkins on the tables were small squares of paper on a stick that you just pulled from the top. The cao lao was amazing! It had great flavor and a lovely amount of green including coriander that was fresh. Yum! It was so good that I had a second bowl while Paul tried the pho. He says that this bowl of pho is the best he has ever had and I do have to agree with him. I tried it and it was phenomenal. Not to mention the fact that we were eating in a very local joint… local that there was a rat sharing the alley with us. I know this sounds gross to most, but it did not bother us. It did not seem to bother anyone or the rat seemed to not care that we were there either. To be honest, it was one of the top three meals that we had in Vietnam. The coolest part yet was the whole meal---3 bowls of cao lao and 1 bowl of pho---was only about $3. Crazy!!! Total made the trip to Vietnam for us.

We went back to the Light Candle for evening beverages and snacks before going to bed. I tried Dalat wine which is made in Vietnam and I was not impressed. Paul had fresh spring rolls which were totally yummy and I tried a banana pancake. It is more like a crepe than a pancake that is filled with fresh banana. It was good. Then for dessert we got fresh cut mango. Gotta love Vietnam!!! We do.

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