Yesterday was my 9th day in Hoi An. It is officially the city I have spent the most time in in SE Asia after almost 3 months of travel. It is a beautiful town and I met some great peeps there.
My first four days in town were rather stressful. First of all, Frankie (my motorbike) died. I had to have the carburetor replaced. I decided that since I will spend the next few months on that bike, It’d be better to just fix everything and be done with it. I ended up dropping $150 on getting her running like new. I also bought a much better helmet and designed a leather jacket from to protect me on the road, another $250. Add to that a couple linen shirts and a pair of pants I couldn’t resist having tailored, and I had dropped more money in a few days than I usually would in two weeks of travel. A lot of it was necessary, but still, it stressed me out.
After those first few days, I was contemplating moving on but decided that I had better stay in Hoi An and have a few stress free days enjoying the city. I needed a few days not waiting for news from a mechanic or having buyer’s remorse. I went to My Son with a couple English friends and explored the Champ kingdom ruins with them. The site wasn’t very crowded and I really liked checking out the Hindu temple ruins.
My last few days in Hoi An were great. A few days ago, two of my travel friends and I went to the beach. We walked to a secluded section to escape the crowds and spent the day being kids again. We played in the water, jumping over waves. I suggested we make a sandcastle, and we spent over an hour in intense concentration making it the best sandcastle ever. After we had finished, people kept stopping to photograph our masterpiece. We had childlike grins on our faces the whole time. We drank beers and had some deep conversations about politics, spirituality, and the current state of the world.
The following day, I went with the same crew to Marble Mountain some 15 km away. We climbed up the steep steps up the mountain side and were blown away by how beautiful the mountain was. The mountain is filled with caves and temples. We had a great vibe walking around up there. We went off-trail to find the perfect view of the surrounding area. There was a shrine in a huge cave, the ceiling of it some 50m high. We took goofy photos. At one point, I had them take a picture of me doing a handstand. While upside down, little did I know that a crowd of about 20 middle schoolers had amassed to watch me. When I came down, several of them asked to take photos with me, and I was a celebrity for a few minutes. We wandered around on the mountain for about 4 hours before we finally descended, all tired and pleased with another afternoon well spent. That night we went out on the town and took advantage of a 100,000 dong, all-you-can-drink special. The kicker is that we only had an hour left of the special. We chugged drink after drink until the very last minute, wobbling away from that bar to another. At the final bar, we took turns youtubing our favorite dance music, at one point ending up on top of the bar dancing Michael Jackson’s Thriller. At about 3 am we meandered back to our hostel, singing and enjoying having old town Hoi An all to ourselves…mostly.
Our final day there, we three went to a village known for making pottery. We got to try our hands at it, all the while thinking of the sexy pottery scene from the movie Ghost. We walked through the narrow alleys of the village, had iced coffee and called it a day. Another afternoon well spent with great company.
A big shout out to amazing people I spent time with in Hoi An. You guys showed me how time and again, the people you meet on the road and the time you share with them are a huge part of what travelling is all about. Cheers my friends!