Location: Danang and Hoi An, Vietnam.
Highlight: Cycling around Hoi An and chilling on a beautiful beach.
Da Nang is a funny old place – it’s in limbo at the moment between being a quiet beach side town and a new crazy Dubai-esque metropolis. From afar, the shore looks like a set of bottom teeth with buildings jutting out, except only about half of the set of teeth are still there like in one of those photos on the front of a packet of cigarettes. A huge amount of money has been invested into building it up and when we were there, even the massive hotels which were completed were very quiet, we didn’t find that there was too much going on.
We jumbled our way through a seafood order (after having been rejected by a couple of places along the beach for a reason still unknown to us) by pointing at live animals and nodding when the waitress tried to explain how she was going to cook it in unofficial sign language. It was delicious.
After 2 days of chilling by the beach and pontificating about whether we would fly straight to Ho Chi Minh City from Da Nang international airport or go to Hoi An and back, Amy and Matt – who were in Hoi An at the time – were waxing lyrically about the place so we had to check it out, so a 30 minute taxi drive and 30 minute walk later (the taxi driver refused to go the whole way part way through the journey…) and we set about exploring on the hotel’s free bicycles.
Now you may remember from a recent post that us and bicycles haven’t gone so well so far in this trip, but this was a whole world of difference – look how happy Simon is this time!
We made it to the beach and had some 6ft waves to body surf around in.
Then cycled back to the hotel passing Paddy fields at sunset:
The old town was decent, though they tried to charge us a fee to visit tourist shops and other places which we were dead against, so we snuck through some back streets and avoided paying and were thoroughly unimpressed with what we saw. It was not worth the entry fee we didn’t pay in our opinion.
We then headed out for some 25p beers before being told they had “run out” once it was clear to them we were only there for cheap drinks and not food, clearly an unwritten rule we weren’t aware of.
Now we like to think of ourselves as discerning consumers who make well informed decisions based on the value proposition and not to be influenced by marketing material and branding. But then we heard that there’s a bar called “Mr Bean’s” and it showed episodes of the show throughout the night… and that all went out the window. It did also have offers on, of course, but you can see how excited we were:
Once our time in Hoi An was over we headed off to Da Nang to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, but first caught a public bus to Da Nang which we were overly prepared for having read all sorts of horror stories about drivers threatening to fight foreigners over the price (it’s meant to be about 50p for everyone but they try to get double that from foreigners) so we approached with trepidation.
£1 came the opening bid… Oh no, we thought to ourselves, here it comes. We were on high alert.
“But it’s 50p, we know the price…” we nervously responded, edging away from the lady who we were negotiating with.
“75p.” was her riposte. Gulp. Let’s stay strong, we can always start video recording like it was suggested that we do.
“The price is on the door though.” We said smugly – Take that missy, we’ve done our homework, we know the price and that it’s on the door. Oh wait, there’s nothing on the door. And the cheek of it! The bus driver has covered the prices with his coat. These guys know what they’re doing.
“Ok fine, 50p.” It came out of nowhere. Success!! We made it! We got the price that the locals get! Take that you crooks! We had saved 50p each! We’re the kings of backpacking. Until we got off 2 stops too soon and had to walk for 30 minutes in the rain to the airport. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.
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Late 20’s Crisis