Have you ever been to Vietnam? Motorbikes and push bikes are life!

Unlike the western world where we go to the local shops and park our car or motorbike in a car park go to the butcher or Woolworths to get our groceries, in Vietnam and here in Hoi An, there is still a lot of ‘street activity’ with the locals bringing their produce to town and selling it in the street and the local market.

They may live 20 minutes away or 2 hours.

Imagine going to Paddy’s market and riding through on your bike and just stopping at the stall for what you want. That pretty much happens here morning noon and night.

People just stop on the side of the road- for a juice, a bowl of Pho (pronounced fu), for meat all freshly brought to market along with fruit, veg or herbs whilst still sitting on their motorbike or push bike.

The tailor has someone from their workshop stop and deliver pants, or 2 guys on a motorcycle – 1 driving the other holding 6 slabs of bottled water to drop of at the quikky mart.. just incredible to see.

The stall holders set up to work until their produce is sold and then they pack up and go home. They may come back again in the afternoon with more meat or veg to sell and as it’s so fresh they really don’t need the golden food safety guide we have in Australia where we have 2 hours out of the fridge or 4 hours in a display before it needs refrigeration or gets thrown out.

Some stalls cook only breakfast, others BBQ duck or chicken and only set up at night.

When you have street meals you sit at little plastic tables and chairs, use chop sticks that you wipe over quickly with a square of paper and you NEVER touch the table! goodness knows what may have been there. If you have rubbish, like the little square of paper ( no serviettes here) or bones, you throw them on the floor under the table. It’s just the way they do it here. It’s not like a restaurant where you may sit back and have a drink and think about how much food you ate, it’s about quick food that is not only delicious and filling but it’s home cooked food brought out to the street on a cart and completely packed up when finished including sweeping the rubbish.

There is of course the western restaurants but where is the fun in that!

Now back to the constant tooting and beeping! Unlike Bali where it is a constant beep to see if you want a Taxi, here in Vietnam it’s part of the way a busy congested city and often the whole country keep the wheels turning -pun intended. The golden rule is you actually very rarely come to a complete stop, you toot to say you are going around the corner, you toot to say you are turning, you toot to say I’m coming around you – you just bloody toot! Except of course if you are a pedestrian…… you just cross the road, slowly and again you never completely stop, you just keep moving and they just toot and go around you!

It makes for some hair raising taxi rides, as everyone tries to go about their business, all with the hand on the beep beep button.

I cant believe we have been here for 10 days, and almost everyday we have walked and ridden our bikes all over Hoi An, out to the beach, to Yoga, through rice fields and along lane ways, up and over bridges and into remote villages and just enjoyed the local way of life. This has mostly been in the morning as the heat is almost unbearable.

Our activities have been varied, from going to cooking school at an echo village, and learning yet another version of spring rolls, the best we have had or maybe that was the oil they were cooked in ? Wading in thigh high water (depending on how tall you aren’t) with a professional photographer, to chat the the fishermen in the river as they catch the pippies that they sell and allow us to photograph them ….. Just wow!

I think Etienne the pro was enjoying himself, the warm afternoon light amazing clouds in the sky, tramping through corn fields and around rice paddies…….. insert big sigh- life is bloody fabulous.

We have loved our painting and sketching classes with Anna and another local artist. We trekked out to the Ba Na Hills and saw the Golden hand bridge.

Been to beach clubs and 5.00am trips to the fish market -wow wasn’t that an eye opener- with a hangover and all done with a smile on our faces.

We call out hello or Xin Chao, smile and wave and embrace this amazing country. They all smile because they think it makes them more attractive, the kids are cute all want to say hi!

Today was a brilliant day, we got to meet another artisan from Northern Vietnam- Cham and her family now live here in Hoi An. Cham studied fine arts has travelled all over the world and shared her passion with us about the local hand embroidery. Now don’t yawn it was actually so much fun, and to see this young mum sharing her experiences and passion for a tradition called Hmong embroidery with us and allowing us to see her father’s beautiful arts works about the heritage of the skilled embroidery and how they spin the silk and hand dye their cloth, was as our friend Pete would say Marvellous!

It was in an amazing new hotel, that was styled just the way I like it and we got to buy pottery plates that we ate an amazing lunch from!

Tonight we went to a seafood restaurant as the skipper and I have 1 more day here in Hoi An before we take the long way home to Sydney via Saigon and head to Bali for a wedding and a catch up with our friends from our Vietnam tour in 2018.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time we visit this amazing country we have loved travelling with Mez again whom we went to India with a few years back and we have made a new friend Bev from Adelaide and I’m sure we will see her again soon.

Lastly Happy birthday to my papa bear Alan – 81 year young today.

Till next time Mrs Wong x