I arrived in Hoi An from Dalat – one overnight bus and one local bus later, around 9am. It was Monday morning and the sun was shining. My cold was retreating and the hostel let me check in early for a shower and a lie down before I faced the day. It was time to get my game face on and get back into the swing of it, Vietnam was going to pass by way too quickly!
Strolling around I instantly felt happier, the small streets so beautiful with their colourful architecture and lanterns dangling from store fronts. After breakfast and a second coffee I was thinking about a relaxing afternoon on the beach when I ran into Francesca, a girl I had met breifly in Canggu, Bali. We got together with her friend Sylvie who was travelling with her through Vietnam, and headed over by bicycle to An Bang beach.
The weather wasn’t perfect and the waves were high but it was food for my soul to spend the afternoon relaxing on a lounger with good company and a view of the ocean.
Spurred on by my newfound enthusiasm I arranged a cooking class for the next day, on recommendation of everyone I knew who had been to Hoi An and insisted that it was the thing to do. I was picked up at 9:30 and headed to the market to grab some ingredients before meeting up with the other ‘cookers’ at a boat for a ride up the river. We then hopped from the boat to small ‘coconut boats’ which are circular bowls that you sit in, in the water, and paddle along. We took these through the palm forest to the cooking school and arrived with faces full of smiles from the fun of the ride.
The course was excellent and the food delicious – spicy papaya salad, bahn xeo pancakes, fresh spring rolls and pork in a ginger marinade. After eating we went back to town and I spent the afternoon strolling between cafes and shops and enjoying the spirit of the small town.
I would have been happy to stay in Hoi An for weeks but adventure called and I knew that the faster I moved the more potential my trip had for activities in the north, with that, I was on my way to Hue…by motorbike!