The first thing I did this morning was to look outside to see how far the flood water had come up. The road was as dry as a bone! After breakfast, we left the hotel to have a look round by the river and do some more shopping. The flooding didn’t look too bad by the time we got down there, despite the dam not being opened until midnight the night before. Apparently the water had risen to waist height in the tailor’s, but had quickly receded. After having to hunt for survival rations the day before, it was all pretty disappointing! But good for the town not to flood too dramatically, and good for us so we could do some more shopping.
As we wandered around we saw two big diggers on the bridge crossing the river, fishing out all the trees and bushes which were floating downstream and getting trapped under the bridge, and moving them to the other side. We carried on perusing the shops, where I found a beautiful deep purple pashmina. She wanted $10 for it, and I haggled her down to $8. Score! I also found some lovely silk watercolours of Ha Long bay. She wanted $10 for both and refused to move on price. I bought them anyway, although it’ll cost me double or triple that to frame them! Still, they’ll be nice reminders of Vietnam. We had some lunch at a local cafe, where I sank more noodles and a scrummy lemon, ginger and coconut smoothie. Yum!
In the afternoon, we met back at the hotel for a cycling tour of Hoi An countryside. We each had a single speed ‘sit up and beg’ bike and a helmet. We must’ve been the only cyclists on the road with any kind of head gear! I was pretty glad of it though when we cycled head on into junctions full of beeping mopeds. Our guide led us out of the town centre and into the countryside around Hoi An. We cycled along the raised paths between the rice fields and saw lots of happily quacking ducks and lazy water buffalo. We stopped at a small farm and tried our hands at watering the crops with a special watering can contraption suspended from a yolk. It was harder than it looked! We cycled on and stopped again to see a man riding a buffalo. He invited us to have a go, and took each of us (well, those who wanted to) out into the water and back again. I volunteered to ride the buffalo – he was huge and really warm! He kept flicking his wet tail at me so I was out pretty damp by the time I was deposited back at the cycle path. We then cycled on through the fields to a beachside cafe. It had started raining and the ground was already thick with mud from the typhoon so it was pretty hard going. We were glad to get some shelter and have a sneaky beer! The sea was fairly uninviting in the wind and rain, so we cycled back to Hoi An for a lovely warm shower.
After the cycle ride, we had a couple of hours to spare before dinner, so me and Roxy decided to nosey on down to the spa across the road from the hotel. I had a manicure and a ‘deluxe’ pedicure, while Roxy had an 80 minute massage! I had so much rough scaly skin on my feet that the beautician whopped out an instrument resembling a cutthroat razor and proceeded to shave my heels. Weirdly it didn’t hurt, but the amount of skin which came off and the colour of it was rank! So good riddance.
At 7pm, Roxy came out of the massage room looking incredibly relaxed, and we wandered over to the hotel lobby to meet everyone for dinner. As the food was so good on the first night in Hoi An, we revisited the restaurant for second helpings. This time I had a beef curry served in a flaming coconut. It was delish! After a couple of strawberry daiquiris, I’ve decided to have an earlyish night ahead of our crazy o’clock flight to Saigon tomorrow morning. At least we don’t have the night train to contend with this time!