Hoi An - The
Second Time
A sweet Vietnamese woman selling Tiger Balm

December 7, 2007

We are now in Hoi An! Yippy yay! I love this place. And I have recruited Elisa in the list of others that love this place too.

First of all, let me just point out that I nearly died of durian inhalation at the Ho Chi Minh City airport. Holy lord! Why do they
allow vendors to cut up that fruit inside the place? Do they want us to pass out before boarding the planes? Well, I am over it
now. But I was about to die while Elisa and I were in line to check-in for our flight.

Anyway we only just got here tonight so she hasn’t even seen it in daylight. Our main agenda here is shopping and enjoying
more Vietnamese food. We wandered in and out of many shops.

There was one point where Elisa asked me if the water she was looking at was the river. Well, it sort of was and sort of wasn’t.
Sadly, I guess all of the major storms have caused flooding around here. What was a street last year appeared to be major
river-overflow tonight. I guess I will have a better idea of what it looks like tomorrow.

We also signed up for a short cooking class tomorrow afternoon to learn how to make Vietnamese ‘street cooking’. Sounds fun.
I was going to consider doing the Red Bridge Cooking School again – but the menu is the
exact same so it really doesn’t make

I also ordered a dress tonight. If it turns out how I like it, I will get one in a different color, too. But to be honest….I’m not
feeling very good about it since I know specifically what I want and I didn’t have a picture to show the woman. It is going to be
based solely on my description and hoping she is going to get it right. We’ll see.

Now it’s time for me to drop my pink lace mosquito net and call it a night. Gotta get some rest for a big day of shopping

December 8, 2007

Elisa and I are made for this town. I told her she would love it here and now she has to agree.

Of course this is 11 shirts, 5 coats/jackets, 12 scarves, 2 dresses, 1 skirt, 1 painting and 30 sets of chopsticks later. Does it make
it better that these things were the purchases between the two of us and not just one?

Our productivity went far beyond shopping. It extended to eating, too. My friends recommended a restaurant called Morning
Glory. We decided to go one step further than just eating there – we took a cooking class there, too. We are now knowledgeable
about how to make Vietnamese street food. This was beyond excellent as we learned how to make some of my favorite dishes!
Banh cuon and fresh spring rolls rank high on my list and I can now make these for people when I get home. Let’s also factor in
the banh xeo that I am a fan of and Elisa and I are ready to host a casual Vietnamese dinner party. Especially considering our
30 sets of chopsticks.

Oh! I forgot to report on the Hoi An flood situation. This morning all looked well. There was only a little water in the street and
that was being tended to by a big machine and several Vietnamese guys. I just assumed all was well again. We were even told
by one of the owners of an art gallery that the water levels were over 5-feet high. It was crazy to see the wood of a pillar that
was a different color because of the water that had absorbed into it. Then while we were eating dinner at a restaurant that has
a view of the river, Elisa pointed out that we were actually directly next to the water - as opposed to across the street from it.
So I guess the water levels go up at night and the floods continue and then during the day things are a bit better. Hopefully all
will be back to normal soon. Just glad I wasn't here during the actual floods! (Selfish, I know.)

I have also decided to test mine and Elisa’s friendship. Though I don’t think she knows it yet. When we went to book our flight
to Laos today it wasn’t going according to plan. Mostly meaning that paying $380 for a round-trip ticket wasn’t going according
to my plan. Then factor in that we would have to leave from Danang tomorrow night (about an hour from here) and get to the
airport early.
Then we would have to fly to Hanoi and get into the city to spend the night. And then we would have to leave in
the morning to go to the airport to catch our flight to Laos to end up in Luang Prabang at 10:30am or so. This portion of
transportation would cost roughly $240 plus a hotel in Hanoi. So my genius idea included leaving here at 2pm tomorrow and
catching the bus to Laos that would get us to Vientiane the following afternoon for the low price of $25. Elisa is in good spirits
about this now. Though I am thinking I might be on her hit-list around this time tomorrow. I have come up with a list of things
we can do on the bus. The list encompasses reading Elisa’s Lonely Planet guide to Laos, listening to my ipod, reading and
playing hangman. I figure this will make use of a good few hours on the 25-hour bus ride.

It’s now time for me to commit some mosquito murder as we have a pesky little guy flying around our room. And I will not
sleep until he dies…

December 9, 2007

We made the most of our last day in Hoi An. Okay – so it consisted mostly of picking up our various articles of clothing at
different tailors. In between our tailor stops, we went to the market where we bought some bamboo sticks so that we will be
able to make our rice paper back at home (mark my words – I
will make these one day!), bought some bamboo placemats
(what I will serve the dinner that will consist of something in the rice paper on – alongside the new chopsticks I purchased), we
went on a bought ride down the river and then we got our last taste of white roses (along with an oh-so-delish banana flower

Now we are at the hotel waiting for our bus to pick us up. I’m trying not to think about the fact that we have 25 hours en route
to Vientiane from here. Nor am I thinking about the fact that every hotel we have looked at online is sold out for tomorrow
night. I am trying to focus on the fact that we will see lots of the Vietnam and Laos country scenery. Lots and lots of it.
Back to Vietnam.
A lantern stall.
At the river in Hoi An.