second time around
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 0 °F
Diep of Vietnamtour Travel, Hanoi
Coffee being delivered aboard the Reunification Express - Livitrans
Cheapest coffee in Vietnam - 10,000VND
Hoi An, Vietnam - one of many beautiful buildings
Hoi An's favorite vehicle
Hoi An - "You buy nice gift? - Buy me, buy me!"
Monday I flew into Hanoi to a surprise, royal welcome from my old friend, Diep. He sent a car to meet me at the airport, hosted me at lunch, saw to it that I got a shower, and sent me off by private car to the station to board the Reunification Express (First Class Livitrans carriage). Next morning we were on the Central Coast at Hue by 07:00, and into Danang at 10:30 - early by 40 minutes. My hotel in Hoi An (The Hai Au) sent a car, and I was checking in by 11:00. Hoi An was quite warmer (think hot and humid) than drizzly Hanoi, and I wasted no time in searching down an old favorite - Shree Ganeesh, Hoi An's wonderful Indian restaurant (boy do those people know spices - not the harsh kind we have in the States).
As if that wasn't enough food to last me, I went out in the early evening to Miss Ly's Cafeteria for dinner. I've never had a better looking inexpensive dinner in my life. Today was just for looking around town, a little shopping, a swim in the hotel pool, and now just waiting until 17:30 when my friend from Hanoikids (2008 trip) arrives - her name is Thuong, and she works in Foreign Relations now - in Danang City.
The Hai Au is just fair, the buffet breakfast was lacking in quantity, but the staff at reception is outstanding. The pool is on the small side, but super clean, cool, and not overpowered with chemicals (1/4 mile walk into town). This town is nice because of the lack of cars - just a few cabs, but plenty motorbikes! I sleep with the AC on low because I don't want mozzie bites (the Hai Au does have mozzie nets) like I got last time around. Tourist here rent push bikes to get around town, and the beach is 1/2 mile down the road, and it's totally flat. I get "Hello" about 1,000 times an hour as I walk down the street (from hawkers, tourism is down quite a bit here and these people are hungry for you to buy anything!)
On to Hanoi first thing Saturday (Jetstar changed my flight time from 17:30 to 09:30!)