Food, Photos and Travel

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Vietnam- Hoi An

After spending time in the northern part of the country, I packed up and headed south, to the charming ancient town of Hoi An. Relatively untouched by the war, it still features lots of old french architecture and is much quieter then bustling Hanoi.

I did a lot of touring when I was in Hanoi and Sapa, so I wanted to take some time to unwind in Hoi An. I chose a great hotel called the Ancient House Resort, which was a fantastic bargain. $40 a night got me a nice room with cable tv, a comfortable and almost luxurious room (for me, it was luxurious). Plus, there was a fabulous pool, and one night they treated all the guests to a free barbeque! It was a bit of a walk from town, but only a $1 taxi or motobike ride.

In the old town, you will encounter literally hundreds of tailor shops, all willing and prepared to make you a full wardrobe in a day. Shoes as well. There's also a lot of artists and a very interesting market. I was very fond of the food in Hoi An. It was much spicier and had much more flavor then the food I had in the north. It was all good though.

In the Hoi An marketplace, I had one of the strangest experiences. I was getting fitted for some clothes, and a little vietnamese, pregnant woman comes up to me and rubs my legs. "Ooooooh, you so hairy" she tells me. I couldn't argue with her... I haven't shaved my legs since, like, May. I then got dragged into her "beauty salon" which was a simply small cement market stall with a bed. Make no mistake about it though, it is a full service salon. Here you can get a full body massage, manicure, pedicure, hair cut or style, or you can get every hair on your body ripped out by a twisted up piece of thread.

I, of course, chose the last option (clearly the most appealing choice for a weary traveler, right?). I actually had no choice in the matter, these girls- there were 3 of them by this point- were determined to not only remove all the hair from my legs, but also my eyebrows, armpits and bikini. The whole time, quipping that my husband would be "verrrry happy" and "no pain, no gain". They call it threading. I call it the Vietnamese String Torture.

There's a great beach nearby, which was virtually empty. The sun was strong, and the water was so warm. There's just something about the ocean, and sitting there overlooking the South China Sea, it really hit me how far from home I was, and how lucky I was to be there.


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