Finally – a sunny day. We borrowed great bicycles from our homestay and set out for the local beach. About 3 km later we hit the ocean. The beach right there did not look like much, so we hung a left and went up the coast a bit. Needing a map and more importantly, a bathroom, we stopped at the Palm Garden Resort and Spa. We got a map at the desk, then decided to look around. We looked ourselves over to a couple of lounge chairs on the beach. An attendant brought us pads and towels and we settled in.
Many of the coconut trees have a rope for hammocks. We improvised with them for a quick yoga practice, Rachelle for a long yoga practice. One perfect iced Vietnamese coffee later, it was time for lunch. We left our stuff on our claimed chairs and had a light, delicious lunch at the outdoor dining room – cucumber salad, pomelo squid salad and crab seaweed soup. Back to our lounge chairs for a rest…
Rooms here start around $135.00, bungalows around $400.00. We will be going back to our $30.00/night slice of heaven later this afternoon. We have to be back around 5 as we are invited to have dinner with Lin and her family at 6. Which begs the question, what to bring. Turns out there is a website called hospitality-pedia or something like that, and in Vietnam, one brings something useful for the home like soap or a picture frame, or something for the children or grandparents. We both know NEVER to show up empty handed, so the site was very useful. Only men bring flowers. There was no mention of sweets. Our afternoon job, as we bike back, will be to find the right gift.
Well, we biked back to the old quarter looking for a fancy soap, failed and went with nuts and sesame candy for her children. It’s also supposed to be brightly wrapped…we will do our best. Biking here is a hoot, literally. Everyone is honking and your best bet is to keep pedaling. Same as walking, you go, never stop short. The motorbikes and cars judge your pace and drive accordingly, avoiding you somehow.
It is hot and humid here. Still, we worked up an appetite and found a street food we had never tried called “Cao Lau”. It is a Hoi An specialty of rice batter, fried in a pan with 6 little cup forms. Quail eggs are broken into some of them. They are all served over rice noodles, greens and herbs, with a clear sweet/sour sauce and chili sauce. Soooo good.
We went back to our homestay, showered and went down for dinner. Linh and her husband had invited everyone for dinner. The place was booked up so there were about 20 of us at round tables set up in the reception area. Linh made dozens of fried spring rolls and a delicious soup with noodles, lean tender pork slices and greens. Each of us was served a huge bowl and everyone finished everything. Lin loves to cook and entertain and we all enjoyed her efforts. She seemed happy that we all got to know each other a bit.