Early to bed, early to rise. Lets forget about the rest eh! I was up, packed and ready to go very early, now when you book a ticket make sure you check the time of leaving, I was sure it was 07:00 but in fact it was 08:00, so arrived at 06:30, I wonder why the hotel owner looked at me a little funny when I said I didn’t want breakfast as I checked out the prior evening. (Thinking no one would be up and about the next morning). But better to be early than miss the stagecoach, is what we say out in the West.
|A Duck farm|
|Entering into Hoi An|
I ordered an omelette and coffee and started communicating with the world. I was sitting in a wonderful courtyard garden, it had tangerine trees, and other fruit trees and a one that I have no clue what it is, it is big green and called “Bong” in Vietnamese, or that is what it sounds like, it was a strange looking fruit the largest about the size of a small water melon. (I think it could have been a Pomello)
Hoi An has also a very lively art scene and I would say that after the tailors and the silk this is one of the main money earners, well not really as tourism is the biggest.
|In the background the ferry approaches|
I then walked under the shaded fish market, it was unfortunately just about finishing, many stalls had already sold out and you had to watch your feet as they swilled the floors down with buckets of water and if you got in the way you would also be brushed into the river.
It cost money to cross the bridge, so I followed the stream a short distance and saw that on the other bank looked like an art workshop, not any old workshop but a one doing contemporary art, this made my day.
I walked a short distance and there was a none Japanese bridge, which led to a Chinese Family temple, by my reckoning it would also lead me to the art workshop, and again I wasn't wrong.
At the rear of a small building I saw the real workshop, I entered (well you get nowhere by being shy) there was no one around, well I saw no one, there was a family engrossed in the little child, but besides that no one batted an eyelid at this stranger poking around the art.
I walked out front and asked, the young lady shouted something in Vietnamese (well at least it wasn't Geordie) and a chap appeared, it could only be an artist. It was Tran Viet Son (Nom de Plume “SANSONTO”)
I wandered passing more tailors shops with wonderful evening jackets, I just don’t think that they are quite me.
They were covered in deep fried onions and sautéed shrimp pieces, wonderful, I was in heaven, they just melted on the tongue.
|Fermented fish, a speciality|
I walked through the lanes of tiny stalls each one selling something just a little different to the next, some specialised in shell fish others bonito, sword fish, horse mackerel, prawns, squid, cuttlefish, mangrove crabs and swimmers, the lot was there.
In front of the fish stalls was the live poultry (but not for long) stalls with the eggs and baby chicks and ducklings (do it yourself rearing), the immense array of veg and house hold goods, most destined for the home market but I did buy a couple of julienne slicers and a rosette maker to make green mango and papaya salad and decorate with carrot roses. Watch this space.
Looking at all that food had made me hungry so I popped into a restaurant that had been recommended in my guide book, I ordered Morning Glory (water spinach) and a prawn fried rice, this was late morning so it would also serve as my lunch, it was very tasty and very garlicky, but as I had no intention of kissing vampires I think I was pretty safe.
After my late breakfast, early lunch call it what you will, I next visited another very worthwhile project, a shop selling tableware and hanging lights, these are all made on the premises, in a workshop out the back of the shop, what makes this so different is that those making it are disabled in some way, either mentally or physically, they all have their part to play and all get great satisfaction in the wonderful end products.
It was time for a bit of afternoon shut eye as that evening was a special evening when lanterns are floated down the rivers to get rid of the bad spirits, you pay a few Cents and these are then sent down the river with a wing and a prayer, every one turns out in their best finery, and you buy your floating lanterns from the boat people, the lanterns are either lowered into the water with a long handled bamboo pole or direct from the boat. They are sent on their way down the river with a prayer and good will before disappearing into the darkness.