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Rosi & Jen's 11 Thousand Beach Odyssey Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, then the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream...."

Bathroom ideas and cooking school!

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 25 March 2008 | Views [1153]

The last 6 days have been fairly chilled.  After an horrendous over night train journey down from SaPa..(there is nothing quite as delightful than having dysentery on an overnight train that keeps stopping and starting suddenly when your only friend is a squat toilet with no toilet paper) we flew to Danang and caught the two jour train to Hue.  We stayed at this amazing hotel run by Tourism students called Villa Hue.  This place was 5 star and very classy. We couldn’t believe our luck.  We used the 2 days there to recuperate from 8 days of mud and cold in SaPa.  We went on a day tour of some old palaces and tombs which was excellent.  There were a lot less tourists here and we could walk around peacefully.  Inside one palace the walls and ceilings were decorated from top to bottom entirely with magnificent mosaic tiles. We just kept going “WOW!” wherever we looked.   We both picked up some great bathrooms ideas for the new house.

Driving around the outskirts of Hue we really notice how much the landscape has changed from the north of the country.  We’re starting to enter the Vietnam we know from the Vietnam War movies.  The lush jungle, the tropical heat, the coastline.  The return train journey from Danang to Hue is truly spectacular.  Two hours of some of the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen.  Two hours of looking down on tiny little beaches and bays that can only accessed via thick jungle decent down mountainsides and out across the South China Sea.  It was glorious.

We are currently in Hoi An which is about 30 kms from Danang.  Hoi An is where all the tailors are.  There are over 500 of them and the stuff they produce is gorgeous.  They can replicate anything.  Same with the cobblers.  Any pair of shores you own, any brand they can duplicate it.  We have actually found Hoi An to be far too touristy.  The first day we got here was the full moon festival where once every month on the full moon they turn off all the lights in the ancient city and everything is lit by brightly coloured lanterns. Its quite beautiful.  But it’s completely overrun by tourists.  Its hard to find a Vietnamese person.  Every shop in the old town is geared toward selling something to tourists.  We found the whole place quite sad.  Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful town.  It just seems very fake to me.  It’s kind of like Byron Bay without the beach.  Byron Bay as it is now.  Over comerciaised touristy lost its soul kinda thing.   Just shop after shop after shop of paintings, clothes,  t shirts, jewellery,  souvenirs, café’s,  restaurants and bars.  It’s very popular though so I guess that’s what tourists want.  Yesterday we did a full day cooking school.  It was fantastic.  We walked through a local village organic herb garden and picked fresh coriander lemon basil Vietnamese mint and water spinach.  We went to the local markets and bought green mango,  paw paw,  garlic, spring onions, lemon grass and banana flower.  We then got taken to an amazing place right on the river quite isolated and with the help of Chef Ngoc we spent the day learning to cook 4 Vietnamese dishes.   After we cooked each one, we ate them.  We ended the day with a boat trip up the river back to town past fishing boats and bamboo river side shacks.  You can’t get much better than that.  So be prepared people!  When we get back we’re going to experiment on all of you. 

We’re not really sure we’re we are heading next.  We plan to be in a little surfing town called Mui Ne in about 4 days.   But until then anything is possible. 

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