Leaving Hoi An. We had to pack up today and leave our bags at the reception area. It’s going to be hard to leave this place. Every morning we’ve had perfectly scrambled eggs, crisp, warm french rolls and occasionally a lemon pancake which is more like a crepe.
Leaving early, we took the bikes again and headed back to the old quarter. Most everything was closed so we watched the town open and come to life. We found our favorite juice bar and settled in with a beet/ginger apple pineapple juice. We’ll be making that one at home… Shop owner is Jan, pastries made by Vasilia, a lovely Greek woman we hope to see in Saigon.
Coincidently, the shop opposite is Avana, our favorite clothing store. One of the designer/owners was there so we went over, introduced ourselves and I got just one more thing. I’m going to be a walking fashion show when I get back! Most of the clothes are for tall women, so we went to a few other shops where Rachelle found a shirt and a fabulous dress. We also managed to eat at Mermaid, (thanks again, Rachel Kahn).
Then to a couple local museums and temples. We found our way back to the open market, but we were done bargaining and left to wander the town a bit more.
Before leaving, we went back to the juice bar one more time for one more beet juice. Then we said our goodbyes and rode our bikes back to our homestay. We got there early enough to shower and have a massage before leaving for the airport. We reluctantly said goodbye to Lin and her staff and family. It was an easy ride and short wait at the airport. Now we are on the way to Saigon for the last part of our trip.
Our flight was filled with French tourists. Lots of fun listening to them. One of the luxuries of this trip has been the prearranged airport/hotel transfers. We deplane and have nothing to do other than find my name on a sign. Saigon is much more of a huge modern city than Hanoi. It is dark out, but you can still see signs of a lot more security. There are 24 districts,10 million people and 7 million motorbikes.
We checked into our hotel and set out for a quick, late dinner. We found a Pakistani halal restaurant called Taj Mahal. We decided to go for it even though there was not a woman in sight. There was an honorary certificate from the government of Pakistan on the wall, and guys in turbans sitting around. We did have a great meal, the best and freshest bhindi (okra) I’ve ever had, and excellent yellow dal. Dairy products are not popular in Vietnam and we have not had much. We must have been craving yogurt as between us, we polished off a salty lassi, a sweet lassi and a mango lassi.