Snookyville – Hoi An

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Snookyville – Hoi An

Sihanoukville a.k.a Snookyville

Sihanoukville is a coastal town in the south of Cambodia. There are a couple of beaches with a Lot of hotels. We stayed in a nice little apartment complex next to Serendipity Beach (if you want to relax, go to Otres Beach and take a look on AirBnB). At night you can eat and drink on the beach for a couple of dollars. There are a lot of kids selling bad firework on the beach… the firework gets fired directly in front of you but it’s the question how much of it makes it into the air. There’s also a lot of people begging here. At one point a Dad with his little kid (about 3 years old) walked by… when the kid walked next to a table with tourists it started crying loudly but stopped crying as soon as he passed the table. Really sad and strange to see. There are also a lot of people selling stuff on the beach, from fresh juice to nail polish… They offered Wim a Manicure and Mariska a wax/shave by way of floss wire… we kindly declined. We relaxed for a few on the beach, which was welcome after the stressy times before we went traveling and the fast paced traveling afterwards. We washed our clothes, that was also pretty necessary. On Wim’s birthday we ate at a restaurant called Sandan, a restaurant with serving by kids from the streets in training. Mris found it necessary to inform the teacher of Wims birthday, which resulted in all the staff singing happy birthday at the table! Awkward but funny! The food was great, much stronger spiced. More coriander, lemon, kampot pepper, ginger and a sort of lemongrass leaf. jumjum! At night we sat at the beach and drank a beer and off course a cocktail (white russian!) to celebrate 31 years of Wim van Heugten!

The Bum Gun

It’s time to adres “the Bum Gun”. In general, the toilets are fine. Almost all loos have a western seat so there isn’t much squatting to go about your business. But if you’ve been to a south-east asian toilet you must have seen the hose with shower-head next to the toilet. This is the Bum Gun… you wash your bum with it. Refreshing on a hot south east asian day! You do need to check the pressure, some of the Bum Guns have the pressure of a water canon used in riot control. Next to cleaning your behind it’s extremely useful to clean the toilet seat, shower of the dirt under your shoes, or shoot mosquitoes and other creepy crawlers. Master the Bum Gun!

Koh Rong Samloem

Koh rong Samloem is one of the islands near the Cambodian coast and one of two Koh Rong islands. Koh Rong is the party island and Koh Rong Samloem is the smaller and more relaxed one. Since we’re old and dopey people now, we chose Koh Rong Samloem. It started weird… Firstly the prices of the boat tickets where more expensive than was told. The owner of the ‘Purple Bar’ came tot tell us this so we had to pay extra. And the boat left half an hour earlier. ‘Fine, we’ll see’. When entering the boat we were asked which stop we wanted to exit the boat. We were like ‘is there more than one stop? Fine, we’ll see’. Lucky for us we were sitting next to a french woman that knew where we should stop. She also explained that it’s pretty hard to get the right information in Cambodia. People rather give wrong information than no information because they’re ashamed they might not know.
The people do want to help, so they mean well… and off course the language barrier doesn’t help!
First stop, exit the boat and find ourselves a place to spend the night. On the beach are a lot of cabins you can rent with different owners… we were told that there’s always a place for two. On the east side of the island is a lot of wind during the winter period so we decided to hike to the other side. With our backpacks on we followed a trail through the jungle, over tree trunks and rocks to Sunset Beach on the other side of the island…45 minutes on flip-flops with at least 13 kilo’s on our backs later we found that everything was booked and the only place available was a couple of bunkbeds in an open windowed dorm of a dive-shop. Sunset Beach was absolutely beautiful… the sand was super fine, nice and hot. Under the half collapsed boat dock they attached some hammocks, superduper relaxation mode. At night we went for a BBQ diner with a chinese, two swiss and an australian (not the beginning of a bad joke!) until all the lights went out at eleven o clock. Apparently the island only has enough juice for about 5 hours a day. It left us with a mini torch finding the way back to the dorm. The dorm was really open so it felt like spending the night outside, luckily we had mosquito nets and the sound of the ocean… bliss.
The next day we hiked back to the other side to arrange a really nice beach cabin on stilts and walked to lazy beach on the other side of the other side. On the way to lazy beach we encountered a lot of small animals like salamanders, monkey’s and a lot of butterflies. If you ever find yourselves on Koh Rong Samloem… you should arrange for an accommodation on lazy beach. Idyllic, just perfect. Nice swing on the beach with another beautiful sunset and a nice walk through the dark jungle back for another nice night with the ocean singing us to sleep. The next morning we decided to hike to the lighthouse, a 4 hour return walk. When we arrived at the lighthouse, it turned out to be part of a military site with exactly 1 soldier stationed on site. Most of the time the soldier is alone with a couple of chickens and you had to pay him 1 dollar to get acces to the lighthouse. Using a small wobbly metal stepladder we climbed to the top an enjoyed the view for a couple of minutes. After a little while we hiked back to get to the boat that would take us to mainland. But not before encountering a spider the size of a fist. Miraculously Mris wasn’t that impressed by the spider… the spider on the other hand wasn’t impressed by Wim’s attempts to scare him away. Sneaking past him and continuing the hike we arrived safely at the beach and with reluctantly boarded the boat. This really was a small piece of paradise. With at least one big spider.

 

Kampot
Half 8 means half 9 in Cambodia. Even the trains in the Netherlands during the fall are better on schedule than everybody in Cambodia. But that doesn’t matter… it gave is some time for a cup of joe. The drive to Kampot was terrifying… every time you looked out of the drivers window it looked like he was going to hit somebody or something. Don’t know what the speed limit is but I can’t imagine the driver held himself to it. We didn’t get any information and the driver was a jerk… the only question we got was ‘you all have Vietnam visa?!’ and we booked a busticket to Kampot, Cambodia. Aside from that everything went fine and we got dropped of in Kampot. Off course we got surrounded by Tuk Tuk drivers but we decided to hoof it. The hotel we booked was called La Belle Vila, and the reviews told us that the hotel was hard to find. That’s true! after looking around and asking a lot of people, we went to a place with wifi to get more info. After asking around some more, a guy biking past us decided for himself that we were looking for La Belle Villa… and so we found the hotel. A very nice and peaceful spot, pretty new with Canadian owners… super sweet people. The rooms are big and have their own bathroom and the staff helps you with everything. Recommend it! During our boat trip to Koh Rong Samloem, the french lady tipped us to do a firefly cruise… so we went into the city to arrange it for that night. Kampot is a french colonial town, you really see the influences in the way they build it. It’s situated on the foor of Bokor Mountain and next to Kapor River… it’s a really nice little city with some pretty cool spots to hang out. At night we did the firefly cruise and met Sasha & Brian A.K.A. the Hangry Travelers. The fireflies were pretty magical to see, but hard to capture on photo or film from a moving boat. After the boat trip we went with Sasha and Brian to eat and drink someplace. Wim even got to play on Brians fold out guitar! Awesome! Really lovely people and after exchanging our contact details and promising each other to meet up again if we have the chance we walked ‘home’. There weren’t any tuk tuk drivers so we had to walk… actually, there wasn’t anybody on the streets except for loose dogs. Vicious dogs, or so we thought. In the ally that connects to the hotel the biggest and meanest of them all was in the middle of the road blocking the way. Every time we got closer it started growling, snarling and barking. So we called the hotel, luckily the owner was awake and came to our rescue. The trick was to just walk past the dog. So there wasn’t actually a trick just two scared tourists that needed saving. But hey, we got back to the hotel alive!!

The day afterwards we spent most of our time planning for Vietnam and doing the sunset cruise… which is almost the same as a firefly tour but that at sunset and without fireflies. Great! and with french fries on board. Afterwards we ate some tapas at bARACA. Suuuper tasty and as desert Khmer Whiskey with and Indian sigaret. Funny idea to match the taste of a spiced up cigarette with the taste of the whiskey. Oh and the owner quoted Zoolander, that’s always a score in Wim’s book. Kampot felt like a nice warm village full of lovely people. And dogs. And some annoying people aswel.

 

 

Can Tho
From Kampot we took a Tuk Tuk to the Vietnam border. We had the superdeluxe house beat tuk tuk equipped with speakers on the back. The drive was pretty nice, got to see a lot of the countryside with the salt fields and rice fields. Apparently, there is a downside to taking a tuk tuk with housebeats. The last village could hear us coming towards them from miles away… and before we knew we were being followed by motodops making us promise we would take their mode of transportation after crossing the border. The motodops can cross the border in any direction without any problems. But they are a trap, they’ll ask to much to get you to the bus station on the Vietnamese side. Crossing the border wasn’t that exciting, we already arranged our visa. We did have to see our passports for a nice little stamp and sign a release declaring ourselves healthy. To check that we we’re not liars the bored customs officer made us do a temperature check. Fortunately for us they had a electric wrist thermometer instead of the good old fashioned one. We also had to pay 1$ for the check, our guess is the customs officer kept the money for himself. When we walked out of the border office and crossed the actual border the motodops presented themselves to us again! We couldn’t get rid of them so we hopped on and drove off to the bus station… which took about 5 minutes. At the busstation we almost immediately found the bus we needed and bought tickets… felt a bit sketchy, but hey… everything that day felt a bit sketchy. The bus ride was the worst one ever! The minibus lacked shock absorbers, the roads small and bumpy, the driver kept driving like a maniac and every time you looked out of a window your life started flashing by. Absolute nightmare. After a bus change at someone’s home it even got worse and sketchier, while driving packages were uncovered from secret hiding spots in the bus and exchanged with motor drivers. The flipside of all this is that we arrived ahead of schedule and without dying! Chapeau! But next time we’ll take a big bus with karaoke over a cheap minibus with a death wish.
Arriving in Can Tho, a flock of grown men ran with the bus to the bus station to see if they could catch a tourist for a ride on their mototaxi to a hotel they’re connected to. We decided to first stop for a coffee with a side of wifi and check out tripadvisor for some hotel tips. We found a great hotel for 14 dollar a night with breakfast. After checking in we wandered around the town and drink some fruitshakes.

Can Tho is with 1,2 million people one of the biggest city’s in Vietnam and the epicenter of the Mekong Delta. Even though it’s really big and with a lot of people it’s still a fairly quiet city. Ten years ago around 200.000 people lived in Can Tho and the city grew fast and exponentially in the next years. You can see it in the architecture,next to the french colonial buildings it’s a hodgepodge of buildings and cheap huts. There are less beggars here, there are people selling lottery tickets but because we as tourists cannot enter those they won’t bother you.

The next morning we tried planning some more and in the afternoon exchanged some tips with a swiss couple. After that we went on a Food Tour! (Mekong Food Tours). Tran (which translates to ‘Always Talking) took us, together with another Dutch and a New Zealand couple, to some different local food spots. At every spot we got a speciality dish.
Stop 1. Fresh Spring Rolls, which you had to make yourselves with vegetables and bbq pork rolls… the combination of the meat, vegetable and fruit was really fresh!
Stop 2. Hearty double fried cupcakes with pork and shrimp. Strange but good! You eat it wrapped in a wasabi leaf with a little sauce on top.
Stop 3. Eggplant, tofu and ehm… field mouse. The first two were really nice but a familiar taste. Field mouse was surprisingly tasty, but I don’t think we’ll ever make it ourselves. Oh and we had a nice beer with it. Always good.
Stop 4. Snake sausage, also pretty good and something we’ll never make at home. Unfortunately a big fat rat caused a bit of an uproar int our group. But hey, we were eating food outside on the sidewalk on little stools… chances are you’ll get some kind of animal visit.
Stop 5. Sticky rice with coconut in a waffle. Again, tasty!!
In total the whole tour cost us about 20 dollar, including the guide. When visiting Can Tho, you should do this food tour! It’s one of the best ways to discover the local food and it gets you more experienced in trying out the street foods in other cities!

We planned for a day of ehm planning… but we don’t get to do much of it… ‘come on, lets walk a little bit and get something to eat’. So in the afternoon we drank some shakes and Coffee. Vietnamese coffee is great!! they serve it in one person coffee makers on top of the cup. The coffee itself is pretty sweet of it’s own and strong as hell! Sometimes they add condensed and sweetened milk to it… well if that doesn’t give you a caffeine and sugar kick, nothing will. Sometimes they’ll give you a little pot of tea next to your coffee to add to the coffee if it’s to strong. In the afternoon we went to the Can Tho museum, but it was closed… they’re only opened during the morning and evening… it’s like they don’t want us to learn about their culture! ūüėČ So to really experience Vietnam we jumped into a supermarket and check out the national goods… supermarkets are a museum of their own right? We bought some food, a pretzelpizza and some deep fried/roasted macaroni. Afterwards we walked around through some streets filled with shops and made an internet call home in a little caf√©. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a streetfoodsnackbar and sat behind one of the street vendors on little stools to eat our local deep fried delights with a cup of sugarcane juice (really delicious, sugarcane juice!). Back in the hotel we did a little bit of reading and arranged with our receptionist that she would go with us to the floating market the next day. She’s really, really sweet… she went above and beyond to give us a lot of recommendations for Can Tho and helped us with everything…

In the morning, Phuong (the receptionist) we went on a little boat to the floating market (05:30). On the floating market there’s mainly fresh fruits like pineapple and jackfruit. Next to the market boats there where a lot of tourists on little boats floating around… not super spectacular but interesting to see how nimble and agile the locals are with steering and walking the boats. A lot of the sellers live on their boats, you’ll see a lot of pets on the boats (next to the animals they can sell). But it’s still a weird sight, a rooster on a boat. After that we went to the Noodle Factory… a pretty small factory where everything is handmade. We could try everything for ourselves and follow the whole process. Mris tried to apply the uncut noodle slice on a bamboo plate using a wooden baseball bat kind of stick. Went surprisingly well! Found some new jobs! Hehe. Some mouses were bbq’d but we didn’t eat one this time.

Ho Chi Minh City a.k.a. Saigon
In the afternoon we took a bus to HCMC, really friendly and helpful people this time. They helped us switch buses even though they didn’t speak a word english. Oh and the ride was pretty relaxed and a lot less bumpy!

Ho Chi Minh City is another culture shock. We thought we saw some hectic traffic but this beats everything. So many scooters and motors… so little traffic rules. One time crossing the road costs you at least 3 years of your lives. The trick is to look if it’s possible to cross the street without letting the drivers know that you’re about to cross the street… and just go without stopping, get it!? When you make eye contact they’ll assume you will stop. And don’t be surprised when motors and scooters will pass you from every side possible. Maybe use a local person crossing the street as some kind of buffer. They do have traffic lights but our rules don’t apply to them:
Green: you can go
Orange: you can go
Red: you still can go
So, traffic lights aren’t any help. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t see any accidents!

Our stay at SaigonRoomHotel through AirBnB was another recommended one, very cheap and Phie (our contact person) happened to be dutch so everything went smooth. Our host, Mrs. Dung was a lovely old lady… very sweet. Though she only speaks vietnamees accompanied with some hand signals.

That night we met up with Sasha and Brian, our friends from Kampot, and ate some indian food chased down with some cheap beers in the park.

After sleeping in we went with Mrs. Dung to the Market. Hamn Hamn! Wanna Buy, is good… We have no clue what we bought for lunch but it was good. We thought she was speaking about ham, but it turned out to be something different altogether. In the afternoon we went to the War Remnants Museum. Even though the museum presents a one-sided story about the war (Mainly from a vietnamese standpoint), it’s another testament of how terrible people can be. The museum is divided in different theme’s on different floors, each representing their own time in the war history. The photo’s, which conceal nothing, make a deep impact on us. Some of them have an eerie beauty despite the horrifying background. The museum also showed a couple of experimental weapons that they used for torture and murder. Next to this, they showed the effect of Agent Orange on the human body… really confronting… in the middle of one of the rooms they even showed a deformed fetus in formaldehyde. Though it shows a terrible time in the Vietnamese history the museum is an absolute must when you’re in HCMC, but be prepared for confronting and terrible images… this place wil leave an impression.

That night we needed some lighter entertainment, so we went with Brian and Sasha (and some rats) back to the park for a diner picknick and some guitar playing. It didn’t take very long before two Vietnamese students joined us and sang some songs with us. Great evening!

Next morning we planned to go to the Cu-Chi tunnels with S&B. First we went to the wrong busstation, so we had to walk back to another one that had a sign saying; ‘urinating 30.000 vnd, bowel movement 60.000 vnd’. They take their crap seriously! Our only thought was, how are they going to check if you urinated or made a bowel movement!

The Cu-Chi Tunnels were used by the Viet-Cong during the Vietnam war. The Guerrilla warriors could escape the bombings and deploying of agent orange using the tunnels. The educational video was a felt a bit propagandic, but if you read between the lines it’s still an impressive feat. They practically lived underground for a long time… and the structure they built was quite impressive. Off course, we as paying tourists, could experience being underground for ourselves! We had to lower ourselves through a little hole in the ground with our arms up otherwise your shoulders wouldn’t fit (except for Mris ans Sasha, they aren’t as muscular as Brian and Wim ūüėČ ). We descended into one of the tunnels and with a mixture of squatting and crawling we moved ourselves to the next room while bats flew through the tiny space above our heads (Mris and Sasha made the necessary little screams). Next to the tunnels they showed us the traps they built against the enemy and let us taste the sweet potato they had to survive on. On the rest of the complex there was a Cao Dai Temple but all the lights were out so we can’t tell you much about it!
After that, the four of us went to the movies! Mordecai, a forgettable movie… but fun to experience the vietnamese commercials with typical and obvious slapstick humor (they also laugh at the strangest points in the movie). Oh and it’s not frowned upon to pick up your phone and start a conversation during a movie.

Early next day we left to a orphanage in the neighborhood to do some volunteering work. It was a heavy but insightful experience. The four of us are pretty clumsy and slow in contrast to the local volunteers and sister Kim. If you want, you can help for a couple of hours with the children who all are handicapped, some of them because of the dioxine that was used in the defoliant called agent orange during the Vietnam war, to give them massages for blood flow and little exercises for their co√∂rdination and help them eat during lunch. We’re glad we went here… sister Kim is such a good person and with 65 children they can use all the help they can get. I understand if you go volunteering in another country you should stay for at least a couple of weeks… even if it’s just for the kids to get to know you. In this case the kids won’t recognize people which makes it a little bit easier to let strangers help. But still, we could do so much more… the staff works for almost no money and the kids are so nice. After saying our goodbyes we went back to the city.

GET IN TOUCH
Sister Kim Chi at Thien Phu’oc Orphanage
156 / 1, An Phu Dong Ward, District 12,
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Vietnam
Tel / Fax: (84-8) 7195997 0903 949 981 0918 207 660
E-mail: thienphuoc20012004@yahoo.com

 

That night we met the much talked about Josie and Hannah from the UK! Two great really hilariously funny girls. Together with them we spent another night in the park… with some rats!

 

Danang

One flight further we’ve arrived in Danang, a business/coastal city. We stayed for one night before heading to Hoi An. When we arrived we went straight to a recommended restaurant. Next to the seaside was this crowded local spot.¬†From big red buckets filled with freshly caught fish you could pick a fish and the way they had to prepare the fish (either bbq or hotpot). We took a, to us unknown, species and made them bbq it! Delicious!

We had a bad night though… the hotel was pretty cheap and the room very small. There was a big giant cockroach on the wall we couldn’t catch so they gave us a new room while they nuked the other one. The next room had a cute little gecko inside, that we couldn’t catch. So we had to chase it out of the little bathroom window. When Wim went outside to buy a beer to cool of and calm down from the chasing around he also saw a big fat rat running into the building. Great!
The next morning cab, the driver thought he could rip us off (dumb tourists that we are) but we’re smarter than that after many tuk tuk drivers. We walked around for a little bit and tried to go inside a Cao Dai Temple… it seemed pretty close but soon a French lady with Vietnamese sidekick helped us around. They also gave us some good tips and a great taxi deal for the rest of the afternoon! Awesome! Next to the city of Danang there’s a Chinese buddhist temple with a 67 meter high statue of a lady buddha called Bodhisattva of Mercy. Around it are temples used for daily prayers. Oh and it’s on a hill with a great view. This alone made the trip to Danang worthwhile. After that our new taxi driver buddy drove us to our homestay in Hoi An.

 

 

 

Hoi An

Here we met up with Sasha & Brian again… on the night of our arrival in Hoi An we went for some food and drinks. First we went to a bbq spot, with mini bbq’s end little stools. But after this meal we weren’t that full so after walking over the night market we went to eat some more.

Hoi An is a coastal city on the South-Chinese Sea, the inner city is listed as a Unesco world heritage site and with the yellow houses and many colorful lanterns outside very pretty but nowadays pretty touristy. That being said, we found it a pretty relaxing city in contrast to Ho Chi Minh City.

The first morning we started with a free cooking class at Sasha and Brian’s hotel. We already wanted to do a cooking class in Vietnam, so this was pretty convenient!¬†Turned out to be less cooking and more watching someone cook. We really did have fun with S&B though, like we know them for years. Before the cooking lesson we went to the market with someone from the hotel to buy ingredients. The girl from the hotel taught Sas and Mris to bargain which then made for some hilarious negotiation on the market (Yamjah! Makwa Makwa!! silloy doi hamue! HAPPY HOUR! ). After our cooking lesson (and the eating of the prepared food) Mariska could work her magic with finding a good tailor for Sasha and Brian. Hoi An is famous for the many custom tailors, just bring a picture with an clothing item you want and they can make it cheap cheap! Mris really went for it and interfered with the selecting of all the little details, kinds of fabric, buttons etc.
The shop we ended on for Sasha and Brian was deeply hidden in the textile market… their fourth choice on from their research list. Very weird to see how everything is done on a little table between mountains of fabric. The ladies from the shop are really nice, and very funny… measurements were taken and butts were pinched! Afterwards we went to drink some tea at¬†reaching out tea house. You have to drink your tea in silence here… which was a welcome change after the market. Oh and Mariska fell in love with a hand embroidered painting.
That night¬†that we were invited by the Homestay to eat diner with their family… super tasty and plentiful. Oh and met some nice people… a couple of Canadians, oh and a Gay Russian couple on the run from the motherland! After that we went to town with S&B for some fresh beers, ¬†Bia h∆°i/Fresh beers are available throughout Vietnam. It is mostly to be found in small bars and on street corners.¬†The beer is brewed daily, then matured for a short period and once ready each bar gets a fresh batch delivered every day in plastic jugs. Very light, but really tasty and refreshing!

After a calm morning in our homestay we, the whole gang including Josie and Hannah they arrived that morning from Ho Chi Minh City, rented scooters from the side of the street to go to the marble mountains. No registration was necessary, no forms needed to be signed. GO! We did need to tank first… but we were being ripped of right before our eyes. The servant didn’t squeeze the pumps handle, filling the tank slowly while the meter acted like the handle was being used normally. Because we really needed a full tank, we wouldn’t let it slide but our Vietnamese was just as bad as their English. We refused to pay and they refused to fill the tank. So we called the lady that rented us our scooters and she raced over… she started shouting from the side of the road¬†at the attendants… things went south from there. The owner of the tank station came outside and started yelling at the scooter-lady, it almost came to a fist fight. Really hostile and strange situation. Our guess was that they’ve done this before, and the lady was sick of them ripping of her customers… after a couple of minutes of screaming our hero-lady said ‘Now. Pay.Go’… and so we did. Apparently guys hitting women isn’t a big deal over there. Glad we and the lady got away unharmed.

The way to the Marble Mountains was pretty easy and straightforward, which helped as it was our first time on scooters. The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five¬†marble & limestone mountains named after the five elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). One of them is accessible for tourists. You could either take the elevator or the stairs. We being cheap and young took the stairs. On top of ¬†and inside the mountain are a couple of¬†buddhist sanctuaries.¬†Some of the old temples are hidden in grottoes while the newer ones are a bit kitschy. In one of the grottoes was a dark pasway which you could take to climb up to the summit¬†of the Marble Mountain. Unfortunately for us the weather was a little bit grey, but it was still worth it. Also, the mountain was divided in Heaven (the top part) and Hell (the Bottom part). After descending the mountain we took the stairs down to the bottom of the cave… inside the cave were a lot of statues lighted with neon and led lights. Terrible! Beautiful cave though… too bad they used such a fun-fair quality of lighting… There is also an large amount¬†of swastikas in Vietnam (and most of buddhist countries). While we might associate it with the nazi’s, it’s a normal sign here. In some religions even the holiest of holiest signs! Descending further down the cave, the sculptures got more gruesome and depicted torturing,¬†murder and all kinds of hell. Hey maybe that’s why they called it hell! Apparently, little kids are welcome here! Maybe the parent’s think it’s a good lesson ‘if you’re not nice, you’ll end up here!’.

Back in Hoi An, we ate at a spring roll restaurant named Bale Well…. If you want to eat somewhere in Hoi An go here. Local and plentiful, you’ll be sitting elbow to elbow with locals at metal tables and on plastic chairs plus you have to eat with your hands. Main dish is some kind of spring roll you have to roll yourselves with all the fresh ingredients dropped in front of you on the table. There are three or four courses and no menu’s, but you don’t have to ask for anything. If they see you’re out of food they’ll either fill up the plate or bring the next course. It might be the best place we’ve eaten so far! Afterwards we drank some more fresh beers and went to bed early in our homestay.

 

Day afterwards we went out with the whole gang again and helped Brian and Sasha with the fitting of their clothes. The ladies of the tailor shop invited us to eat Cau Lau with them that evening! really nice. The girls shopped some more and Brian and Wim bicycled out of town,¬†drank some beers and did some research for the next couple of days. At 4 o clock, we were back at the store to eat. The noodles were really good, they are a local speciality. After that we changed in our new shared hotel room (sleepoverpartytime yaaay!) ¬†and went back into town for the lantern festival. Everybody could buy little floating lanterns and let them go on the river. Looked gorgeous at night, though the current of the river didn’t really help… ¬†Next, fresh beers (did we mention they are 20 eurocent per glass!?) and cocktails. After a couple of faceswaps and rounds of ‘Heads-Up’ we continued the party in our hotel room… oh boy did we feel it the next day!

 

Stray Observations:
– It’s really not uncommon to get wrong information… Cambodians rather give wrong information than no information and look like they don’t know…
–¬†Most people in Cambodia and Vietnam are extremely nice and go out of your way to help. Although it seems like they’re screaming at you when they try to help… but that’s because of the language!
–¬†It’s not accepted to bargain everywhere…sometimes they just look at you and walk away without saying a word… like you’ve insulted them!
–¬†Vietnamese Coffee… Holy Crap!! One cup is enough to keep you away for three days! Sometimes it’s really sweet with condensed sweetened milk. You can feel your teeth rot away with every sip… but it’s good!
–¬†Mariska gets a lot of looks here, we asked somebody if something was wrong with the way she dressed… but no… ‘yoe are bijoetifoel’ :)
–¬†Every bus we took stopped every so often to pik up strange packages or random (so it seemed) people next to the road.
–¬†In Vietnam are almost no Tuk Tuk’s, you have motodops/mototaxis here… which basically are tuned up scooters… This is the call of the motordriver: ‘Hello! Where you going? Wannabuymotobaike?’
–¬†Rats! After a couple of hundred you get used to the little buggers.
– Despite being active all day/every day. We don’t feel like we’re loosing weight… oh the food is that good! Fried banana is really nice! ūüėČ