Saturday 8 January - late afternoon
After we'd been dropped back at the offices of Hoi An Motorbike Adventures we wandered down to see everyone at Mr Xe's for another fitting. As usual, as we were heading to the shop, Mr Xe was headed in the other direction, probably going up to see his uncle.
I was greeted by the lovely ladies and Nhung got me into the fitting room to try on all the goodies. Everything was starting to come together, and I was pleased with the progress. A couple of things still required minor adjustment, but apart from that, all was good. Just when I thought it was safe to get redressed however, Mr Xe appeared and I had to try everything on again so that he could inspect the handiwork. He is truly the Vietnamese Valentino. There is definitely no 'that'll do' attitude happening here.
After we'd bid Mr Xe and the ladies farewell for the day, we continued on our way down to Bach Dang Street, where Curry was hoping that her shoes would be ready, but alas, the heavy rain meant that the glue hadn't dried. We have to come back again tomorrow. My shoes however were ready and I was surprised at how lovely they turned out.
We proceed back to the hotel to track down Caramel and find out what she's been up to whilst we were whizzing through the jungle and having a merry old time of it. It's still pretty cold and miserable as far as the weather goes, but Curry and I are still buzzing with adrenalin from our fabulous day out. We locate Caramel and we go to her room to take tea on the balcony. It was all just beautiful and we enjoyed a relaxing period of time out before organising ourselves for dinner.
We quickly showered and changed and headed back into town. Finding a restaurant in Hoi An is certainly not difficult as there are dozens of them. The biggest problem is trying to decide which one to choose. Fabulous sights and smells greet the passer by on every street. We ended up at Sakura Restaurant, which is located in one of the really beautiful old buildings in Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. We chose the restaurant because the building is just so gorgeous. We were lucky enough to be seated upstairs on the balcony, which gave us a stunning view over the Thu Bon river and across to Cam Nam. Unfortunately for Curry, there was a traditional music concert being held in the open air rotunda next door to the restaurant, and the sharply discordant music was really getting on her nerves. Luckily we didn't have to put up with it for too long, and Curry busied herself with taking photos on the 'night' settings of the camera. Yet again, the staff were really lovely and very attentive. The service standards in Vietnam are very high and nothing is too much trouble for anyone. The level of English is surprisingly good, even though at times, the accent may be slightly difficult to understand. However, a few moments of listening intently to the speaker usually trains one's ear and communication becomes easier. As always, no matter where one is in the world, a little patience and a kind smile seems to make everything that much smoother.
Yet again, we had another lovely meal for the princely sum of about $6 per person, including drinks. The girls simply cannot get enough of the $2 cocktails. We enjoyed another pot of ginger tea, which goes so well with the delicious food. The lovely chef carved me a beautiful fish made out of a long red chili and it decorated my main meal. It was so lovely I could barely part with it. We took lots of photos of the fishy adoring various plates of food, including the plate of White Rose dumplings and the Morning Glory that both seem to have become a staple in our Vietnamese diet. The girls who waited on us even made a little bridge out of chopsticks so we could photograph fishy on a bridge. It was hilarious.
After dinner, we went wandering again up and down Bach Dang Street. The lanterns and the lights shimmering off the water attract people like moths to flame, and we are no exception to the mesmerising effects. It's just beautiful wandering around the streets of Hoi An at night, and particularly so after the motorbike curfew has set in. Walking is so much more pleasant when one is safe in the knowledge that some clown on a scooter isn't going to flatten one onto the road. It's quiet, peaceful and ridiculously scenic. The Sakura chef had let me take the fishy with me, and we decided to set him free in the waters of the Thu Bon. I do the Rex Hunt and give him a kiss before tossing him in with a prayer to join his brethren. He sinks below the ripples and we wave goodbye. We soak up the atmosphere and sights like sponges before retiring back to the hotel. Although I feel like such a nanna, I stick to my regimen of retiring early to bed to avoid coming down with something that will impede upon my best laid plans. The girls head back to their favourite bar near the hotel and indulge in some more cocktails.
I have a piping hot shower, don my pyjamas and am soon gliding towards the Land of Nod. It's been a massively huge day and I couldn't be happier if I tried. There's nowhere in the world I would rather be right at this very moment. I fall asleep smiling.