Monday, December 29, 2008

12.26.08 Hoi An to HCMC

We woke up super early to get moving for the day. We had many things to do before we could leave Hoi An. First, we had cao lao at the first best place in Hoi An. Again the spa owner showed us another spot. It was good, but Paul and I both agreed the night before was better. Again the whole meal was about $2. Totally nuts the quality of food you can get for such a cheap price. After morning noodles, we had another massage. I went for a foot massage that was more foot reflexology than massage. It was good though and relaxing. Paul had a massage. We had to stop at the tailor to pick up skirts before making our way back to the hotel to get a taxi to the airport.

Again, we found ourselves sitting on bus #152 waiting to go to the City Center of HCMC. No smoking driver this time, but it was warm here. So far it was not raining, but that would soon change. Ugh. We got off the bus and hailed a taxi to take us to the hotel. Now it was raining….ugh. Why??? Paul and I both are tired of the rain. It just makes exploring difficult and not as much fun. Not to mention that Paul does not have as much patience in the rain, but I on the other hand am not patient when hungry. So I guess it all works out. The hotel is nice. A step up from the last place and is located in a great place in the city. We were both hungry and went around the corner to Pho24. This place is a chain, but in all the books it says the pho is good. We figured we would try it since it was close and it was raining. The pho was ok. Nothing crazy good or anything, but better than the normal I guess. We also got spring rolls which were also just ok. All the ones we have had have been just ok. Most of them have been the fried ones. The best fried ones we have had were the ones in Hanoi at the place we had bun cha. The fresh ones in Hoi An were the absolute best so far. Totally yummy!!! After dinner we went to Gloria Jean’s coffee to hang out. They do have decaf coffee here which is a nice change to Seoul. J As we sat there Paul and I realized that last Christmas in Melbourne we sat in Gloria Jean’s when it was raining hanging out and having coffee.

So, 3 years ago today is when it all started for Paul and I. Our first date was on Dec. 26, 2005. We went to Pei Wei for lunch and then to see a movie which was Family Stone. It is nuts to think it has already been three years. The next year I was in Houston for the holidays, we were engaged, and went to lunch at Pei Wei then to see the movie The Holiday. Last year, we were in Melbourne. We had lunch at a little place called Lamb on Chapel (greek food) and then saw the movie Darjeeling Limited. Now, this year we are in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We had lunch at Pho 24 and then saw the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. It is our little tradition that we try to eat asian (if possible) and then go to a movie. Greek was as close as we could get in Melbourne. This year we kind of did our little tradition twice b/c we were not sure if we would find movies. So on Dec. 23rd while in Hanoi we had dinner at Restaurant Bobby Chinn and then saw an indie film at the cinema downstairs from our room, Owl and a Sparrow. We did end of finding English movies here in Ho Chi Minh, so it did work out. We just had our date two times this year. Fun times!!!

After the movie, we were walking back to the hotel and we decided we were hungry. We had walked by quite a few Japanese restaurants. We walked into one, and the food was great. Not the best, but definitely doable. Much better than Seoul, Paul says. J Paul had tuna sashimi, a spicy tuna roll, and we shared beef tataki and I had gyozas. Paul was also excited that the place had oolong tea….he loves this stuff. The best part was the entire meal with my beer included was only $22 USD.

The crazy thing is that we have both decided that we really love Vietnam. HCMC is a great place---good food, great shopping, history, and an amazing vibe! After much talk and discussion, we would seriously consider living here. I would love to go back to Hoi An to volunteer at the shop, Reaching Out, which they do. If we lived in HCMC, it would be possible since it is only a one hour flight. There are coffee shops everywhere and tons of free wireless internet. From people I have talked to, the school here is a good one and is part of the big Eastern Asian school organization. J

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