Oh My Buddha!

So I finished our last report with a teaser, OMB. From the title of this chapter, you see what that stands for. Oh my Buddha is Phong’s favorite line. He is oh so passionate about his country and teaching us what he knows.  He will start many of his discussions about Vietnam with the phrase. We are all using it know. 

He has been leading trips throughout SE Asia for many years but I feel his favorite place to teach about is his native land. 

When I checked in with you last, we were finishing our short stay in Hué and headed for Hoi An.

 (I just re-read that missive and it is quite long and all over the time line. Sorry about that- I shall try to be doing shorter posts about one place at a time but I cannot promise.)

Anyway, we took the bus down the beautiful coast for about 3 or 4 hours. It was so scenic nobody paid much attention to the time passing, just the scenery and Phong’s stories. 

We had some nice views out the window and a fun rest stop at a former bunker along the way. 

We mentioned in the last post that we thought our group of 15 was pretty darn good. Now we know it is! We have couples, a dad and daughter, single women on their own and single men. They hail from Canada, U.K., Australia, Germany and only Nancy and me from USA. Age range is early 20s to mid 60s. Everyone gets along, no drama queens (or kings) and they all have good stories to tell during bus rides, meals and other gathering times.  Often during our free time to eat, explore, shop and rest we end up either all together or with at least a few of our fellow travelers. 

While we are in this VERY picturesque town on the Thu Bòn River we have more free time and are here 3 nights so the pace has mercifully slowed down a step or two. Hoi An is known for the lanterns decorating the old town, tailor shops making custom outfits quickly, and river life. 

A few of our gang have had suits and shirts made. There are also shoemakers here. Nancy and I have not taken advantage of the opportunity as there is nobody who makes Padres shirts!

Yesterday we attended a cooking class at Oodles of Noodles. This is an organization that through its culinary program and restaurant teaches disadvantaged kids a trade and starts them in a career in restaurants and resorts. 

We learned to make various Vietnamese rice noodles and then had a terrific lunch. 



The weather here has taken a moist turn. The rain was especially hard yesterday postponing our bike ride to the beach. We may do it today but so far things don’t look so good. 

We did make the most of the pause yesterday with a visit to a spa

Nancy had a nice massage and I was exfoliated with coffee and honey. Kinda weird but I did smell good to all the baristas in town!  Speaking of coffee, there are cafes everywhere here. This was a Halloween treat yesterday 

Nancy and I are loving this trip. Normally we do all our own plans and travel independently. We may be rethinking. G Adventures does an amazing job of putting these trips together. We are staying at comfy but not lush hotels. We are taken to  places we might not know about and have great activities and plenty of free time. 

Phong has put us all together in a WhatsApp group to touch base with us when we are on our own and sends out restaurant recommendations. 

So now it is before 6am Thursday and we are fixin to an early trip to the DaNang airport and short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).  I’ll try to get this off soon. 

However, I need to tell you that yesterday was a ripper!  The weather held off so we did the bike ride. The beach time was not good for swimming but a lovely place to stop for a break. Lots of pics here. We rode to a dock, the bikes and us hopped on a boat (talented bikes) and we went downriver to an island. We rode all over like we did on the motorcycles, roads, lanes, tracks, rice paddies etc. 

We also met this amazingly beautiful elderly couple who apparently are an internet sensation 

They are 96 & 92 years old. They have an organic farm outside Hoi An. Nancy felt compelled to help them with their back breaking work.
The water at the beach was a bit rough so we just waded. 

After riding back to town, we had $1 Bahn Mi that were amazing along w REAL BEER!

For those of you in Seattle, this place was very reminiscent of Salumi. Excellent food, out of the way, hard to find and a line out the door. 

After visiting the market with our chef, “Pineapple,”we did a cooking class where we learned spring rolls, pho, chicken in banana leaves and mango sticky rice. 

Dinner together eating our efforts followed, then back to sleep before our early rise. 
Pics include the bridge and salt shakers.
Okee dokee, you are caught up. We are on the plane and Astros are up 2-0 at Kevin’s last report. 

I met this lady cleaning fish along the bike path. I asked her for a photo since she is wearing a USA shirt. She was nice enough to let me snap this. 

A Hoi An footbridge at night and a family dressing and shopping together.  Well, our friends, we will close here and

pick this up in a couple days. We are in Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon is easier but everywhere else has been an H city -Ha Noi, Halong Bay, Hué & Hoi An) now and have various activities over the next few days. 

tạm biệt ngay bây giờ

(Goodbye for now)

Nancy & Chris 

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