Hoi An (3)

20 10 2009

Monday 19/10/09

Did we say we were enjoying the heat? Well I think we are over it – the humidity anyway! The temperature has been hovering in the mid 30s all day with the humidity at about 90%. Water is sold everywhere and just as well. Between us we are drinking more than 4 litres a day and that’s without counting fruit juice, soft drink, tea and beer. Coffee is another matter. The local coffee is lousy and so I go looking for, “Italian machine coffee?”, which is much more palatable but a great deal less available. The nearest fix is half a kilometre from our hotel and by the time we get there we’re so hot I feel more like a beer than a coffee but I need the fix. The trouble is that a ‘long black coffee’ is usually about a thimble full of extremely strong caffeine in the bottom of a cup. As a drink it’s useless, as a ‘fix’ it would be better taken intravenously. A latte is a better bet but unfortunately they don’t have skinny milk so I feel like lisping, “but dear, it just goes swaight to my hips!” (That’s my excuse anyway.) Maree has no such trouble and smugly uses her ‘infuser’ to make a hot cup of tea in our room.

DSCN0167We have been impressed to see several charity type workshops with private international assistance happening in different places. In Da Nang we saw a business set up and overseen by an American family that was a ministry to deaf Vietnamese. A small café/restaurant employed about 20 or so young severely hearing impaired locals who have been taught sign language and other skills in relation to the business, and not the least, given a sense of self worth. In a culture where people with disabilities are stigmatised and severely disadvantaged it is encouraging to see these small efforts making headway. DSCN0165Here in Hoi An there is an orphanage run by a British foundation staffed by volunteers providing special needs education and therapies and another volunteer organisation, which we saw this morning, overseeing a workshop for people with physical and mental disabilities.

DSCN0160We continue to be fascinated by the ‘old town’ but are pleased we are not here at the height of the tourist season. There are quite enough tourists around for our liking as it is and we can only imagine the hoards that must come to give so many hundreds of little businesses a chance of some custom. Caucasians are thicker on the ground here than we have found elsewhere but Aussies are in the minority. We are more likely to hear strains of French, German, American, British, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, Italian and other indefinable languages than a ‘g’day’. The locals always ask, “Where you from?” and to our answer, ‘from Australia.” Sometimes gets the response of thumbs up and a Vietnamese accented, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!” What an embarrassing national image. I think we will start responding by claiming we are Tasmanian rather than Australian!

Our Hotel: A grande olde dame

Our Hotel: A grande olde dame

Note the top title of our floor plan! A freudian slip?

Note the top title of our floor plan! A freudian slip?

We may move on to Hanoi in the morning…




2 responses

20 10 2009

Hi Roger
In Hanoi, be sure to see Ho Chi Minh’s Morsolium, but go very early, about 7-7.30am or you will wait for hours. I have tried twice and have failed both times owing to bad timing, little time and underestimating ques.
His house is also close by to see after…I think he was a great man so if you get a chance please read his storey.
Hanoi is a lot older than Saigon. Wonder through the old quarter and don’t be affraid to venture up some of the extreamly narrow allyways.
I read your exploits each day with great interest….Robert

21 10 2009
Roger and Maree

Hi Robert,
Sounds fascinating but unfortunately it is closed in October and November so we will have to wait and hear your report when you finally manage to see it.

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