As we were staying in Hoi An for 8 nights we were able to get about and see some more of the surrounds. At breakfast the other morning a young Scottish couple told us of a man who takes you to his fishing village. It sounded great so we tracked him down at the restaurant where he works and organised a trip. We were picked up and he took us to his village a predominantly fishing village with about 5 families who did pottery. He gave us a short tour with a little bit of history of the river and his village of 2000 people.
Our first activity was watching and then having a go at making pottery. With no electricity they have to spin the wheel by foot which meant a young lads job was to stand and sweep his foot across the wheel to spin it at a steady speed while a lady would mold the clay. After our lesson all the kids had a go. They all had fun especially being able to get messy with the clay. I had a go at spinning the wheel with my foot however the excitement of trying something new soon wore off. What a bloody boring job!
Bellie try's her hand at pottery
Matt has a spin
After the pottery it was time to try some fishing on the river bank. All the kids were given bamboo rods (without reels) with tiny hooks and worms for bait. Some lily pads from the river were moved aside and we sat down with some local kids to catch lunch. We didn't have much luck with only Toby catching a fish - not making his big sister very happy. Not really big enough to eat we moved on to Mr Trungs house (our guide) for our lunch. His wife has made us a yummy lunch of spring rolls, steamed fish with rice, noodles and pork. We all tucked in with the 2 dozen spring rolls the first to go. It was nice to have lunch with a local family and finished off a brilliant morning with Mr Trung. It was an unexpected trip but well worth it.
Holly chillaxing and just a little miffed that her brother had caught a fish
The proud angler
Lunch with Mr Trung and his wife
Another unplanned bonus was being in Hoi An on the 14th day of the lunar month - the full moon party. We spent the evening in the old town on the riverfront where all lighting is turned off as well as bar/restaurant music. Instead local musicians sing and play on each street corner. With the lights off extra lanterns are bought out and small fires to light the front of shops. The highlight is the river where hundreds of small floating candles are released into the river. With only the moonlight above, watching them float away was really stunning. We have seen them do this during other nights but only a few at a time but tonight the river was littered with hundreds and hundreds of them flickering away down the river. Rach and I decided to put one each on the river for Bronny and Dad. It was a nice moment with all 5 of us sharing some big hugs.
The next trip was to My Son ruins, around 40km from our accommodation. The owner of the homestay drove us there, waited and then brought us home. With the roads and the amount of traffic it was a 1 hour journey each way. Even though we arrived at 9.30am it was getting hot. Sweaty Rach hot. We spent one and a half hours having a look around which was pretty good for the kids. Toby was the funniest running about like a mad man. He was wearing his paleontologist outfit and loving it. Wanting to mainly go where he wasn't allowed to explore! The ruins were well worth a look but apart from one section they were hard to make out. This area once had been the center of the Chams holy land. The Americans had done their best to wipe the place off the map. Around the ruins are craters made from the many b52 bombs that were dropped here. I enjoyed the time here which I think was partly because of having been in the Cham museum in Danang. Fortunately the exhibits there had been taken from My Son before the American war by the French.
My Son Ruins
We also managed to by a few souvenirs in Hoi An and rather than cart them around the rest of the trip we had them shipped home. The kids choose what they wanted and Rach finally manged to spend more than $5 on something. Whilst we were in the store Toby made a wee friend, the tiniest lizard you could find. It ran up his jandal and proceeded up his leg. Toby was laughing hysterically as the little fella just sat on his leg for ages. He hasn't stopped talking about it claiming it is his new best friend. Rach - I had a couple of dresses made and headed into town one afternoon to pick them up. I had to laugh that nearly every shop I walked into had all the lights off and I would have to wake the owner from his or her siesta. Up they would spring rubbing their eyes ready to sell. After talking to the girl on reception at our homestay it is not a wonder they need a midday sleep. Her work hours were 7am till 10pm 6 days a week - a total of 90 hours a week. I would hate to think what she was paid having been told an average salary is just $60 per week. The other thing that intrigued me was when she talked about a friend of hers who she considered wealthy. She seemed to measure wealth in terms of what food they could afford - "they could eat anything" she exclaimed. She too explained that Vietnamese don't eat much meat. Instead preferring veges and fish. " Meat will only make you fat" she said - how wise.
Matt and Tob with their new hats
Toby's new buddy
I am constantly amazed at how the kids have adjusted to life here. Walking along the streets is a constant cornucopia of sound, smells, photos and heckling to buy. Bellie is the funniest as is often targeted as the littlest they will hand her stuff in the hope we will buy it. She refuses to take it and cheerily states "I already have one" regardless of what it is. She also has this ability to just humm along some made up song as she wanders through the crowds and the rubbish and the smells - happy in her own special place.
The Jac Fruit are a sight to behold
Enjoying some watermelon juice
Our Last day in Hoi An we headed to the beach again. This time there were some big waves rolling in. Toby got bowled over early on and lost his confidence but Holly was loving it, surfing up the beach. The day was the hottest so far without a cloud in the sky.
That night we had our dinner at the homestay. They had moved all the tables and chairs outside and we sat down to a lovely Vietnamese meal. There was squid was delicious and the Dalat red wine was surprisingly ok. It did made me laugh with the description on the label as "strong wine". The dinner went on for 3 hours with all the staff and two other guests from Russia. The more the wine flowed the louder everyone became. The kids got to play with the owners daughter she was 6 but the same height as Bella! We had to call it a night at 8pm to get the kids in bed as the next morning we were catching the only flight to Dalat which left at 6am meaning a 4am transfer to the airport.
The big feast
Bellie and her 6 year old friend