October 4, 2011 Tuesday Hoi An

October 4, 2011 Tuesday Hoi An


October 4, 2011 Tuesday Hoi An

8:00am is considered an early start for us, so breakfast is early.  The weather is still overcast and raining.  We have not seen the sun and blue skies for almost the entire trip so far, and the forecast says there is a typhoon heading our way from the Philippines.  So lots more rain is on the way.  Despite the rain, we can get around in ‘lovely’ colorful raincoats that a sold to us for $3 or even 120,000 dong.

We bus into the old town of Hoi An, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.  Quaint Chinese, Japanese or traditional Vietnam architecture is all around the town.  There are lots of small traders who can make up a suite or dress for you in less than 24 hours.

We go on a market tour with local guide, who describe the fruits and vegetables to us, and how to use them in the kitchen.  This is very useful information as we are about to transfer to Red Bridge Restaurant and Cooking School for a lesson in Vietnamese cooking.

After a short canoe ride to the Restaurant, we are treated to a cup of tea before a tour around the herb garden.  Then we are taken to the cookery classroom.  Our teacher has humor just like Anh Do.  Her name is Su so I call her Anh Su.  Her one-liners are classics.  During her introductory talk, she mentioned that her boss wouldn’t get sharper knives and said he was a ‘tight arse’.  He is from Australia.  Everything that went wrong is from China.  While doing the food preparation, one of our group asks if he can do something to his dish and is told, “don’t change my recipe”.  All members of our group enjoy the cooking class, some saying it is the highlight of the trip so far.  We find out the meaning of “Yum” in Vietnamese.

Following the boat trip, we take a tour of the shops for 40 minutes.  He has a few ‘cousin brothers’, we say, who are ‘the best’ at this or that.  The tour takes us through a couple of tailors, a shoe making shop and a spectacle shop.  There are also other types of shops that our group has asked for.

Lyn and I walk around the town before returning to the Hotel for a rest and a bit of a snack.  Others have stayed to get measured up for clothes to be made.

The band is not at dinner tonight so we can’t party like we did last night – perhaps we need to go out into the reception area where they are playing in the corner, and stir all the arrivals for the day.

Comments on cooking class.

For someone who can’t boil an egg, Chris did a fantastic job; and loved doing it.

Brilliant idea.  Will be using the menu when I get back home.

The dug-out pineapple was superb.

The day was brilliant and the class was so well done.

The instructor, how do you do – Su.  Fantastic!

A Great day was had by all.

Never say “Yum!”  In Vietnamese, it means “I am horney!”

Today’s Senior’s Moment.  To get a fitting, you need to raise your arms, spread your legs, and stand still.  They then take photos, front on, back on, and side on.  This senior hadn’t seen his side-on shot before.  He is in recovery room after his jaw hit the floor.

A second, another senior was told a ‘million times’ to ‘watch your head’ while getting on the boat.  He couldn’t find a mirror and ended up with a dark bruise on his head instead.

October 3, 2011 Monday Saigon – Hoi An

Today is another ‘transit day’.  A last trip through motorbike city before our flight to Da Nang.  I find that travelling domestic is more difficult than flying international.  I check in my baggage and as I walk away from the counter, I get told that my tripod, which I carry attached to my backpack, cannot be taken on the aircraft.  I have travelled this way to Europe and Tahiti, but not in Vietnam.  So I have to plastic wrap it and check it in as a separate item.  As we go through security, they find my small tool set in my backpack, and so that has to get checked in through baggage.  Luckily, our tour guide is kind and he includes it in his carry-on baggage and checks it through.  Different countries, different rules.  The funny part about it all is Ken, with his metal bits in his hips and knees, gets held up at Melbourne Airport and has never had trouble with security since.  Our baggage comes through the baggage carousel at Hoi An, last – and it has been a full 255 passenger, flight.

Hoi An is around 35km south of Da Nang and on the way, we have a 30 minute break to visit a marble factory.  Beautiful carvings; some very small and elaborate, others large and imposing.  The weather is stormy with strong winds as we arrive at our hotel http://www.swiss-belhotel.com/Vietnam/Hoi+An/hoian#hotel+information  After arrival drinks, we are ‘sent to our rooms’ with the rest of the afternoon to fill in.  Most of us have not had lunch, so a small snack is had.  The bed we have is ‘oversize’ to say the least, but quite hard.

It is Joseph’s and Joanna’s wedding anniversary and so a small party is had to celebrate the occasion at dinner time.  A Filipino band is playing and even they enjoyed our Australian way of ‘having a good time’.  Beatle songs and other ‘older’ style music are danced to.  We are off to bed at 9:30pm for an early night.

Senior’s Moment – At dinner, Chris was adding some sugar to his tea.  It is a good idea to open the sugar packet and not the tooth-pick packet, Chris.  Michael thought that mozzarella cheese makes a good set of power lines, but it is best to cut the cheese with a knife instead of trying to separate by stretching – sometimes cheese ends up all over your face.

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