After the delights of Hue and Danang, we arrived in Hoi An, which is my favourite place in Vietnam so far. I’ll tell you why. For a start, it has a distinct small town feel, but big city energy. Every night lanterns are blazing and drinks are flowing. Hostels are sociable, fun and have indoor swimming pools.
Me and special K were staying in a hostel centre of the city, where we were reunited with our beloved Froome-addict Jordan. By a divine Canadian miracle Grant and Tara found their way into our lives. We found them standing at the back entrance of the hostel, waiting in front of a table they’d presumed to be an abandoned reception desk and had decided to wait there, I assume, indefinitely. Jordan was all like ‘let’s see how long they wait for’ but my time perception was all over the shop and in my mind I’d been watching them stand there like the wives of lost sailors looking out to sea for about 5 hours already. That coupled with the desire to make friends and help my fellow man that I get when I’ve been blazing led me to reach out and tell them where to go, and a beautiful friendship was born.
On the night of Vietnamese New Year, the group of us set out looking absolutely crunk in our new tailored suits. I’d picked up a 3 piece from one of Hoi An’s renowned tailors for $300, an absolute steal. Keal did too- his tailor nailed his measurements first time, he came out of the changing room looking #195. I, on the other hand, had to go back for 9 fittings. Either I got the work experience kid as my tailor, or my body is anatomically asymmetrical. The notion that organised work experience placements exist to help young students decide what career path to take, in a country where you have to squat over a hole in the ground to crap seems a little far fetched, so maybe I should be wearing those special shoes.
Anyway, new years was incredible, we danced on tables with our crew and many others till the early hours. The night was made even better when we bumped into mud cave mermaid Ieva, her two Italian stallions and the party-or-die Swedes. The firework display was possibly the best I’ve ever seen. Everyone in the crowd was losing their shit, Tara was balling her eyes out, shit was certainly #goingoff.
Hoi An is the city of hidden treasures. Grant, Jordan and I each found our own zen places- stunning secret little areas where you could spend the whole day. Or week. Mine was an old house whose function is a mystery before entering, but once inside you’re treated to ginger tea, bamboo paper art installations, spiritual readings, a wealth of hammocks and more adult colouring books than you can shake a bloody stick at. If you’re ever in Hoi An and want to find somewhere off the track, shoot me a message.
Next episode, Nha Trang, Dalat, then hopefully I can finally catch up to present day!