Hoi An, Vietnam
29 May 2017
29 May 2017
Early that morning, we arrived in Hoi An! However, as the main bus depot was a little far away from the centre, we caught a local bus.
And let me say that this was by far the most bizarre bus ride I have ever undertaken, all because of one man: the bus driver's assistant. I don't recall ever being on board a bus with an assistant before, but this bus had one! Before departing, he lit some incense on the bus' dashboard shrine. He took it upon himself to tell passengers which seat they should take, and where to place their belongings. Often throughout the ride when passengers disembarked and new passengers boarded, he would rearrange people. On several occasions he snatched up his trusty bottle of window cleaner and sprayed it all over the inside of the windshield - including in front of the driver! He sprayed so much that it dripped down in thick rivulets, and then didn't wipe it off, instead leaving it to slide down the glass by itself. He fussed over everything: folding and refolding some little towels he had, messing about with a USB stick to make the tiny TV play K-Pop music videos without sound, hanging an umbrella in different places around the bus, poking a fan to make sure it was still working, and "helping" people as they exited (though it looked rather a lot like mandhandling-cum-shoving). The only time he stopped bustling about terribly was when he engaged a tourist in conversation - she was reading a book about Cambodian refugees and he eventually ended the conversation by ripping out a page that he thought was interesting for keepsies. Poor girl. We were too intimidated to do anything on the bus except watch him, but later we joked about all the crazy stuff he did, and Yannick postulated that he would be the sort of person who would turn up to an event with pre-arranged seating (like a wedding) and reorder everyone himself.
Fancying a bit of a sit down ourselves, we popped into a café for some drinks, and the view of the street was gorgeous! Sipping away, we gazed out at the locals riding their bikes and the lanterns swaying ever so slightly in the breeze.
For lunch, we devoured sandwiches at Phi Banh Mi. They had an amazing vegan option with spicy tofu! And the chilled soda water was perfect for the hot day. There would be no cardigans or scarves worn in Hoi An, oh no. It was back to normal Vietnam temperatures for us. One of the ladies who ran the place came over to recommend some sights, tours, and also told us of one of the best tailors in town (her sister).
At long last, we were able to check into our hotel and revel in some much needed showers. We napped to supplement our insufficient sleeper bus night, and then it was nearly time for drinks!
Today's post was almost called: City of a Hundred Thousand Lanterns