Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 8 Hoi An

Today, we're sick :(  We've decided to take it easy for the day!  I've been waking up around 5 am. every day, so this morning I thought I'd check out the early morning activities of Hoi An.  These pictures were taken around 6 am. on the riverfront.
After breakfast at the hotel, and a quick fitting at some of the shops we'd ordered clothes at, we headed to the beach.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too chilly to relax seaside,  The waves were really strong that day, and the beach had taken quite a beating since the previous day.
We headed back into town and got some delicious lunch!  There aren't as many street vendors during the day in Hoi An, as a lot of the tourists are out on day trips, but we've run across a few, all selling this dish, Thit Nuong Cuon (grilled pork spring rolls).  They're delicious!  It's a DIY kind of thing, so you get to add as much as you want and then roll it up, dip and enjoy! 
After a little more shopping, we headed back to the hotel room to rest a bit before heading out for dinner.  We ate at a little place set up by the river across from the Citronella Cafe.  It was the only place we didn't like very much :(  On the plus side, we headed over to the Cargo Club after dinner for a delicous dessert!  They had a large selection of really great stuff!  We had the double chocolate cake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 7- Hoi An

We love Hoi An so much, after our first day here we've decided to skip Saigon and stay for the rest of our trip.

Today is HOT!!!  85F with about 85% humidity, which isn't that hot... but it was 28F back home with snow on the ground.  After trying on some of our clothes and doing a bit more shopping (always shopping here, can you tell I love it?), we head to the beach.  We rented a scooter from one of the girls that works at the front desk and headed down the road to the ocean.  It was perfect there.  Nice sandy beach, a good breeze, and the water felt great!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 6- Hoi An

We arrived back in Hanoi about 5 am. and had breakfast and a shower at our hotel who were awesome and gave us a room to chill in for free and took care of getting us a taxi to the airport! Then headed off to the airport to fly to Da Nang, and then taxi down to Hoi An.  It was about 80 and breezy when we got off the plane, there were palm trees swaying, and we drove along the coastline down to our hotel in the middle of town.  The hotel is beautiful; we have a great bathtub!  Our fist day in town, we just look around, Brent ordered a custom suit (which should be ready for his first fitting tomorrow afternoon), we got some things for the girls and really just enjoyed the atmosphere of the town.  Its very quiet in comparison to Hanoi, which is a good change for us!  The nights are amazing here;  In the old part of town they close off the streets so that not even scooters can be on them.  In the day they can, but still no cards.  Its very nice!  We were still pretty beat up from our Sapa trek, so we got massages that evening.  Awesomeness :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 5 - Sapa Day 2

Our Guide Ku

Day 5 started out with much clearer weather, but the same grueling up and down the rice paddies, and this time through a bamboo forest.  Today was significantly muddier; in some spots up to our knees.  I don't know how the locals manage to stay so clean, because our boots and knees were caked with mud!  We hiked to a waterfall, and then crossed a crazy bridge to have lunch before we headed up another super steep hill to the road.  It was about 15 minutes of straight up, very few turns and really hard- espeically after the 2 days we'd had!
We got back to Sapa and had a couple of hours to check out the town, but were too tired to do anything but sit and wait for the van to take us back to the train station.  The hotel there did give us a room to shower in, but it was ghetto and disgusting.  I was grateful to have my mom's Crocs to wear in the shower, because there was NO WAY I would have stood in that otherwise, and the shower did feel wonderful.  After a couple of hours the crazy van driver came to take us back to Loi Cai to the train station.  The people here drive crazy!!!  If you've been on the Alpine Loop, the road is alot like that, only not as well kept, and people drive it so fast, and they pass everyone all the time.  It was nuts!  Back to the train, and a good snooze.  Tomorrow morning we will arrive about 5 am. in Hanoi.
Mud, mud, mud!  This was so slippery, Macy had to have her hand held most of the time. 

 A view from above.  We started the day below most of what is in this picture.  LONG way up!

 Scary bridge that moved all over the place when you walked.  This lady is laughing at Macy's hesitance to cross :)
Brent got face to face and sniffed by the water buffalo.

Thomas & Anne from Denmark, our guide, Ku, and Julian from Germany.  
Oh, and us too! (and a little vietnamese hill girl peeking out on the lower left behind Thomas).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 4 - Sapa!

We have been waiting for our trek into the Sapa mountain region! We take an overnight train and then bus into the mountains to the summit town of Sapa. From there we hike with our local tribe guide down into the villages and stay overnight with a family. Then climb our way back up the other side of the valley to be picked up.

This was so much harder than we had imagined, and been told by the tour booker; however, we're glad we didn't know how hard it was going to be b/c we NEVER would have booked and it truly was an experience not to be missed.  The valley below Sapa is amazing, the people are amazing, and we had the best time.  Day 1 of the trek was very muddy and foggy.  We had to climb/jump/slide down rice paddies, some of which were over 4 feet tall.  Our guide, Ky, was so funny.  She would laugh and make jokes about us going back to the main road and staying in a hotel overnight.  I seriously almost took her up on that a few times!

Home sweet home!

Ahhh! Diner is served!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 3 - Last day in Hanoi

We started the day in our awesome hotel with some breakfast. Macy had an omelet and french toast.

I had the Viet-Breakfast-Sandwich: Comes with egg, bacon, tomato, lettuce, cucumber... It might sound strange but it is SOO good!

Into the craziness of Hanoi we go!

Our first mission: go to our favorite Hanoi bakery ("Shope Bakery" Banh My-Banh Ngot) for some sweet sesame bread for the train. We stumbled upon this place on day 1 after the market and LOVED the sweet sesame bread (especially when its warm!)

Then we went for a cyclo ride and found this awesome old dragon fountain with tons of moss growing on it.

Nest we went to the Museum of Ethnology. Pretty interesting, but not well kept. The museum is designed to teach you about the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups (most of which are tribes) and their history.

Ancient scroll
Fsh traps on a bike... yes there is a bike under there!
Old water puppet

Those awesome hats...