Hoi An – 26.11.2012

Looks like I am finding my rhythm to make the most out of an idle day :)   I had breakfast at 6.30 am. This time the buffet was not depleted – but there was nothing that turned me on. An uncompassionate assortment of low quality stuff – like I would expect it only in a cheap Bulgarian all-inclusive hotel. Maybe tomorrow I will take a picture to show you what I mean. As I was not brave enough to stomach any of these items I stuck to some soft baguette with orange marmalade and a strong cup of coffee (at least the coffee was quite good).

At 7 am I was at the beach – the only person wide and far. There was an unexpectedly rough and high surf – and it took me quite some effort at this early hour to break through it. I got washed off my feet at least three times. If I were a beach bum I would immediately look to buy a surf board.

A somewhat less pleasant feature was that once in deep water there were strong undercurrents and I had to paddle quite a bit not to be carried away to unknown destinations. That’s not how I had imagined my first relaxed swim in the Vietnamese Sea! Alas, on the way back to the hotel I felt like the sporting ace that I have always been deep down inside – and was ready to take on the world. For whatever reason this feeling withered away while I was shaving and had a shower. So, I decided against sightseeing and other such activities and made myself comfortable on my huge bed instead…

At 11 am I rode to the centre to try the local speciality for lunch: Cao Lau. My guide book had listed one establishment as the most authentic place for this dish:

And here the Cao Lau:

A noodle dish, or course :) With slices of pork, crackling pork skin, greens and bean sprouts. With two ladles of dark aromatic broth hidden under the ingredients. The noodles are like Japanese udon noodles. In fact, it is said that the dish was introduced by the Japanese merchants and sailors that had a big presence here in the 16th and 17th century when Hoi An was still Vietnam’s main port.

To my pleasure this was also the first “restaurant” where there was not only a pot of ground chillies on the table but also a bowl with whole tiny green chillies – that proved to be rather fierce. I like it! A satisfying little luncheon – and at 1.50 Leva quite affordable.

Idle lunch hour on the old town streets:

I could not miss the opportunity to re-visit the “beer garden”. This time like a local, however. I just drove my motorbike inside and parked elegantly next to a few others – as if I had been doing this all my life. And I did not order a beer – but a rich and strong Vietnamese coffee – this time in it’s iced version:

That was the perfect choice! The Vietnamese coffee is simply born to be served this way. I had many “ice coffees” in Italy, France and wherever but none of them can match the creamy richness and aroma of the Vietnamese version! A revelation! The coffee came, of course, accompanied by a free glass of green tea :)

Now I am waiting for the heat to subside a little and then I will go for a slow driving excursion to the surrounding countryside to take in land and people…



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