After constantly moving location since we set off it was a welcome break to arrive in Hoi An where we stayed for a week in an AirBnB. The house was on a normal Vietnamese street and was in the traditional style. It was fabulous – if you are interest see link: airbnb.
I just loved Hoi An, it was a beautiful place with a river through the centre and lit up by lanterns at night. As with all the locations we visited in Vietnam the food was spectacular. The only downside was that this was planned as a beach week and the weather let us down, only made one day on the beach. It was still very relaxing, and we actually enjoyed a more sedate pace and I caught up on some Reading 📖 – the thing to do in a thunderstorm ⛈ .
Cooking Course – Following our trusted Trip Advisor we attended a cooking course with Green Bamboo. The day started with a trip to the market to purchase all the ingredients for the various dishes (each person on the course was going to make their own dish). This in itself was a great experience, learning about the meat, fish, vegetables, herbs and staples and seeing all the colourful fresh food. Once back at the house we all then made our dishes, and as each was ready enjoyed a steady 12 course banquet! I made a chicken curry, Scarlett fried spring rolls, Xander BBQ fish in banana leaves, Max traditional Pho and Laura Prawns. We left the premises very full, with a cookbook and a commitment to each other to do a Vietnamese dinner party when we got home.
Tailoring – Hoi An is known for its exceptional tailors so getting something made was a must do activity. I was being very me and being scared of the shop assistants, but by day three of visiting even I was persuaded to get something made. It didn’t seem optional after even Scarlett’s monkey Charlie got a new outfit – a banana shirt. For those coming to Richard and Maria’s wedding in September look out for Max and Xander new suits!
Diving – Xander (my little 10 year-old boy) worked very hard in the weeks before we left to pass his exam and swimming pool skills to enabling him to become a PADI Junior Open Water diver. All he had left to do was his four qualifying dives. Unfortunately there wasn’t time in Hoi An due to the weather but he did get in his first real dive, a discovery dive. Look out for his blog on how he enjoyed it.
Neighbours – Our next door neighbours helped look after us and came in each morning to make us clean and make breakfast, usually omelet and lots of fresh fruit. One morning they brought another neighbour, Gary, with them to explain they needed to come early the next day as they were celebrating the death of the husbands father, followed by an invite for us to attend. We were very confused as it seemed odd to invite us to the funeral and assumed it was lost in translation. Mid-morning the next day they popped in to ask (well gesture) if we were coming as food was ready. Laura, Scarlett and I jumped up, got dressed (chilling remember) and headed over a bit worried. Turns out it is an annual event to remember his father rather than a wake, and involved lots of family and food. We were made to feel very welcome and the food was lovely if a little daunting. Again just showing the welcoming nature of the Vietnamese. (The boys missed out as they were diving)
Birthday Girl – Having your eighth birthday without all your family and friends could have been hard, but thanks to the present from Laura and all the e-cards and videos Scarlett had an amazing day. We got a lovely birthday cake delivered (the French influence is really evident through the amazing bakeries) , attended the neighbours celebration, and finished the day with a lovely meal and putting lanterns onto the river. The most memorable bit though was the YouTube birthday song.