Friday, October 12, 2007

3 Week Travelogue In Summary

Concluding Vietnam - Part 1

After Sapa it was back to Hanoi & onto Hoi An (The ancient old town). As i mentioned in the previous post, we were in the same compartment as the cute honeymoon couple from Europe! This time round, we learnt a few poker games from Robert which are pretty interesting & intellectual! Must teach u guys these games soon in case I forget...

Reached Hanoi at ard 4.30am & got the 'morning call' only 5mins b4 we were to alight. Best rite! Once out of the train station, chaos broke out with hordes of motor drivers & cabbies rushing at us, trying to earn our money... Clueless abt where we wanted to head at 1st, we loitered for quite some time b4 settling on 2 motors to our previous hostel for a short rest till our afternoon flight to Hoi An. & tat was how it all happened. Ting Mei was robbed! Yes, the idiotic motor driver stole her mp3 & passport when she was fumbling over her bag to pay. Unfortch, we only discovered like 30mins later when she was trying to sort her things.. Passport gone! Damn we were all so damn panicky ok.. Passport is damn impt & we had a flight to catch. I mean mp3 is expensive but not as impt as passport. Luckily, when the hostel opened, some sweeper found her passport & returned! What luck! At least the stupid thief realised how impt the passport is to us & returned, if not i dono wat will happen.. I mean it was only 4days into our 3week travel! Going by how slow things work in Vietnam, it was highly possible she might be stuck in Hanoi... Really heng ar! And i suspect my sunglasses was also stolen then, although i only found out when i reach Hoi An...After dragging our tired, zombie-like souls along the old quarter shops for hours, we headed to the airport & flew to Danang, and a 45min cab ride later, we reached Hoi An, checked in & just slept!

This is our hotel in Hoi An very ancient design

2nd day, brand new day, refreshed from our long peaceful sleep, we embarked on our tour of the ancient old town. Cars are not allowed into the town (only motor & bicycles) 75,000VND (~S$7.50) buys us the tickets to visit 4 places of ancient historical value. Walking down the streets of old town, the feeling is so totally different from Hanoi or Sapa. Everything is like so peaceful & old..& quiet with the exception of the lion dance troupes. Yes, we were there during the Mid Autumn Festival (which is apparently a BIG thing for HOi An) and the lion dance troupes were EVERYWHERE!! It just seems like every kid in town is a lion dancer. Every corner u turn to, u see them practising & the drums 'BomBomBom'. Noisy as it is, quite an interesting sight to see, cos in Singapore, only during Chinese New Year do u get this & not in such a BIG scale!

They have the Festival Night on 14th day of Lunar Aug and it was bloody hell chaotic!! Damn crowded & noisy. It was really damn difficult to pass through the streets. And the lion dance troupes are everywhere, intruding into every single shops for a short performance in return for some money... Quite irritating & u can see some shop owners trying to bar them from entering...

Lion dance! It's their Festival night on 14th day of Lunar Aug

It was quite a pleasant walk, weather was not too hot. The places we went were the museum of ceramics trade, hokkien association, Tan Ky old house, Japanese bridge to name a few. Tan Ky old house was interesting. The owner of the house (the 6th generation living there) explained the history of the house and brought us for a short tour of the house, explaining the various sculptures on the walls.

Then of cos, our main highlight of the Hoi An stop - Clothes Tailoring!! Yes, Hoi An is famed for tailoring & it is evident from the rows & rows of shophouses specialising in tailoring! So many that u realli have no idea which one to choose from. So we just chose one we had a connection with (haha okok we saw positive comments hung outside the shop). We thought it would just be a 1hr affair choosing what we want to be made, but we were WRONG!!! Once we entered, 3 thick books were thrown to us & we started flipping to choose the designs...Pages after pages & b4 u know it, we had already shortlisted loads of designs. I had abt 15 pieces made (each piece = 1 top or 1 bottom or 1 dress) & we were there for at least 3hrs!!! Yes, shopping is TIRING!!! This is the place where i spent the most. I think I spent USD280 making all those clothes. Quite worth it & am satisfied with the outcome. Seriously they can make anything & everything from the pictures! & it was all done in 1day! We collected them the next evening. Mass production! & the owner was very attention to our needs & requests. Highly recommended! Anyone interested in going to Hoi An, I can recommend this tailor!

The 3rd day was a tour of My Son, old temples made of bricks, sth like Angkor wat but on a smaller scale... It was quite interesting but of cos, compared to Angkor Wat, it's really minor...

Me @ My Son

Armed with the new clothes, repacking was a serious problem. Ended up just hand carrying most of the new clothes..Next stop - Ho Chi Minh!

p/s: I discovered my sleeveless T-Shirt tan in Hoi An, a result of the sun exposure in Sapa... It was realli terrible. I was shocked beyond words. Imagine the sleeveless T-shirt tan!! Eeks.. I was horrified! Luckily now, it has gone off quite alot, thanks to subsequent days' suntanning...

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