Hoi An's paradise of a beach
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 88 °F
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An
A verty tasty coconut - Cua Dai Beach
A personable chopstick vendor
My $15. Nhi Trung Hotel balcony
Took a cyclo ride down to Cua Dai this morning for the cool breeze - what a nice beach. It would have been a lot nicer without all the hawkers, but I certainly think Hoi An's beach must be one of the nicer beaches in country. The stretch I was on was across from expensive beach hotels, but the beach side was totally open to the public, and was lined with beautiful coconut palms. I sat down in one of those red plastic chairs and ordered a fresh coconut for 20,000VND.
I have to go into Hoi An town now to pay the balance on a purchase of a set of carved figures to be shipped home - I thought it was quite a bargain at $25. (plus $26. shipping to the States). From there, I think I'll try the Mango Rooms Restaurant - it gets very high marks from certain Portland foodies. Thank God for the pool at my hotel - I've been in it 3 times already - a really nice cool down after a hot day, and especially at night.
Ate at the fancy Mango Rooms last night, and my advice is to "save your dong"! Mango Rooms is an Asian Fusian place that has a name creator (no name chef in sight) with respectable food, but I fear that it caters toward the upper crust customer with more dong than brains. The first course of tempura-style fried veggies was very tasty with an unusual sauce (mango was the secret ingredient, I believe), but the main course of beef-wrapped shrimp marinated in soy, ginger, cloves and pepper just did not work for this spaghetti-head - the marinade was so powerful as to totally mask the flavor of the prawns. It did make a beautiful statement with banana leaf, wrapped rice noodles and a tomato rose. The mango lasse had no salt rim, and had far too little mango to suit this perfectionist. The cost of 375,000VND was over 3 times the cost of a more enjoyable meal at Miss Ly's. So much for fancy food in Vietnam!
I realized, later in the evening, that I was dissatisfied with my accommodation at the Hai Au (don't want to totally bore you with details - read all about it on my review at Tripadvisor), and took a walk down to my old stomping ground at the Dai Long (March '08), but they were full. A few doors down I found the very acceptable little Nhi Trung Hotel for the grand total of $15. a night for a cozy room, comfortable balcony with outdoor table already set for tea, AC and breakfast included. I move in first thing this morning, Friday. I just walked down to the daily market, and along the way had a brunch of fried banana, tropical fruit plate and iced white coffee. Every time you order coffee in this country, it comes in a slightly different form - this time it was sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of a glass, with crushed ice and topped with the Viet filter coffee rig so the hot coffee can drip down onto the ice, and it all melted into cold perfection, but it sure looked like an attempt to make coffee granita instead of iced coffee. A German tourist from Nuremburg thought so too, and took a picture of the coffee drink in the making.
This computer at the Nhi Trung seems to be light years younger than those at Hai Au, and the location of this hotel is so much more convenient. I have to stock my own fridge here, and came back from market with fruit drinks and a Pepsi + mini tangerines. I also stopped along the way to watch a young wood carver, and bought a small tortoise for 90,000VND.
I had felt a little self conscious walking around in a sweat soaked t-shirt, but noticed this morning that many other tourists + at least one Vietnamese man had the very same problem,