Monday, June 21, 2010

shopping, snorkeling & sand dunes

As you know, we're now in Mui Ne. After spending some time on the beach in Da Nang where we visiting Marble Mountain - a big mountain full of caves with various carved Buddha statues inside - we headed to Hoi An, a lovely city and a shoppers paradise. There are tailors and shoemakers all over the place, and they can make you almost anything you want - customized however you'd like it. They're really good at copying name brand styles... so you could even make yourself a neon green and gold embossed pair of Nike Airs if you wanted to. Erik got a nice pair of shoes made and we both got some pretty fancy-pants coats made. They're being shipped home right now and hopefully they arrive safely. 

In addition to the shopping and trinkets for sale all over, the city is pretty gorgeous. Most of the buildings in the central area have old wooden fronts and pretty paper lanterns are lit up at night and the city becomes a very romantic looking place (photos to come). 

During the day-time on our first day in Hoi An Erik and I rented bikes and cycled around to see the streets and check out the beach. It was pretty hot so we were very sweaty, but we found relief in the city's market. I wasn't hungry (toooo hot!) but Erik got some pretty mean looking noodle soup and a yummy looking Vietnamese pancake with beef and shrimp. Later on, in the evening, we try out some traditional foods for dinner (including Cau Lau, a delicious noodle dish with what tasted like some kind of delicious curry sauce - delicious!). 

On our second day we went snorkeling off of Cham Island, which was a pretty fantastic experience for me. The water was incredibly clear and we got to see some beautiful coral reefs and lots of interesting fish (including giant blue starfish, rainbow fish, weird fish with pointy needle-like noses, lots of small fish in schools, and spiky black sea urchins). It was absolutely beautiful!!! I've never seen sea life like it before. Haha... and baby jellyfish were stinging us quite a bit, but after a while you just get used to the burning feeling :) I was wondering why I kept feeling sharp quick burns, and then we saw them and figured it out pretty quickly. After snorkeling we got to have a vegetarian lunch with a local family (delicious) and see a bit of one of the islands. We also had amazing iced Vietnamese coffee (which we will miss once we leave Vietnam..they roast it differently and sweeten it with condensed milk... yum!) with some locals.

As Erik mentioned, tomorrow we leave Mui Ne and it's Sahara-like sand dunes for Saigon, which means  we see the last of the ocean for the remainder of our trip. Well... soon we'll get to tube down the "Lazy River" (as Erik calls it) in Laos. So we haven't seen the last of water and sun-bathing!

Check ya later ;)
Love, Hil


  1. Yayyy I can finally comment!! it hasn't let me before, but i've been reading your posts! It sounds like you guys are having an incredible time, and have some amazing stories!! can't wait for all the pictures and to hear everything when you get back! and i LOVE the food descriptions!
    be safe and wear sunscreen please :)


  2. Hilary (and Erik)June 23, 2010 at 5:27 AM

    RHEAAAAANE!!!! It's great to hear from you :) Erik and I both really miss you guys! We wish we were all hanging out watching football games together. The food here is pretty great - tonight we're going to a crazy night market! Lot's of stories and summer-time fun in August. We hope all is going well and that summer in Toronto is excellent.
    Much Love and keep in touch. We always check the comments and love to hear from you.

  3. Hil, your pictures are gorgeous! Its pretty cool how reading your blog brings me right back! You know what excited me the most? That you FINALLY got to try the infamous Vietnamese Coffee I've been craving since I left! Delicious right?

    Miss ya, keep safe XO Liz Vecchio

  4. hey liz, it's erik...
    if you want a pretty good cup of vietnamese coffee at home, you should go to the golden turtle near queen and ossington. north on ossinton, east side. its pretty damn close. but it is pretty amazing here.