Hoi An. 4th November 2016
Were sat in the railway station at Danang waiting for the train to Nha Trang and its gonna be at least 10 minutes late.
So it back to the waiting game.
One of the skills of traveling (one which I find difficult to master) is patients.
We noticed years ago ( I think in Mauritius, or maybe it was Crete) that local people have the ability to sit for long periods, staring into space for hours at a time. You often see old people, sat on a stool outside their home’s, just watching. As if they can see things we can’t?
I don’t mean like ‘people watching’ from the window of Starbucks.
This is sitting in a street, in a village where nothing happens. Where no traffic passes, no tourists stray. The most you can expect is for a stray cat or a local dog to wander by, stop and shift a tick or flea, then be on its way.
Even they don’t stop for long.
Some children learn this ability and I wonder whether with Mobile phones and Social Media they will loose this skill and become as impatient as us Westerners?
So when you travel you also have to learn to let go.
Lots of things are out of my hands, I am unable to do anything about them so theres no point worrying about them.
Long periods are spent in limbo.
Am I at the rights train station, am i on the right platform, will i get on the right train, in the right carriage. The truth is, I don’t know and I wont know until the train pulls in and I try to get on it.
It will either work right, or it won’t. But stressing about it now wont make any difference to the outcome.
You also have to learn some tolerance and again I’ve still got the ‘L ‘Plates up.
People behave differently in different countries and what is the social norm in one place is offensive in another.
Like the guy sat opposite us in the waiting room. He’s proudly displaying his high tech mobile phone but is shouting into it so loudly he’s getting on my nerves. Yet i guess he is currently ‘Cutting edge’ like a ‘Yuppie with a Filo fax.’
Or the guy sleeping on two seats, with his dirty old feet stuck up in the air for all to see.
Interestingly there has been no need to remove shoes in Vietnam either when entering buildings or temples, yet in Thailand and India this was critical. I think if i was a God ( come on you know I’m not, well not really) I wouldn’t want people to take their shoes off, I cant stand feet at the best of times.
Picking your nose in public and spitting both seem to be acceptable behaviour here where as at home it would be Taboo.
One of the other things we’ve noticed is that people sneeze a lot. People sneeze all the time. People sneeze without putting their hands in front of their mouths.
It seems there is some children education needed.
What about. “Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases”?
However . “Look right, look Left, look Right again, then cross the road’ would be fatal here as there are no rules for crossing the roads even on zebra crossings.
Nicholas Parsons has it right. Don’t deviate, replicate or hesitate. (Just a Minute).
The rule of thumb seems to be once you step off the kerb just keep going, that way the traffic will anticipate where you will be and avoid a collision. Stop or turn back and your doomed cause they wont expect you to do that.
Anyway, back to blogging.
We’ve just had three nights in the EMM Hotel Hoi An and its been great.
The Hotel had everything we wanted. Nice big clean rooms. Comfortable beds. Good food, free push bikes, fats wifi and a great staff team.
We’ve had good staff almost everywhere we’ve been. Most have spoken good English and been more than happy to help us. The difference here is that the staff were fun. They had a sense of humour and we had great fun teasing them, or in most cases, they had great fun teasing me.
Bloody ‘Happy Buddha’ indeed!
Hoi An itself is pretty, it has plenty of restaurants and bars, though if you wanted a bar to get blathered in or to party hard late into the night, you might struggle. Its much more gentle than that.
By day hordes of tourist wander around taking millions of pictures and buying rubbish trinkets that will be forgotten long before the tan fades. But its at night Hoi An comes into its own.
It has hundreds of paper lanterns which are lit up at night creating fantastic photo opportunities.
True there is a lot of hard sell. Postcards and Tiger balm is constantly thrust at you by sad looking touts who pester you constantly whilst sipping your Iced Vietnamese Coffee. Shop keepers will shout ”Madame” as you walk past (presumably aimed at Jaki) trying to encourage you into their shop. If you so much as think about going in they are all over you like a rash.
Yet if you go in (only if you decide you do want to buy something. You can have hours of fun.
I haggled over a pair of sandals and got the price down from one million, six hundred thousand Dong to six hundred thousand Dong and had the best half hours entertainment in the process. The secret as with all things, is to treat it as an experience and enjoy it rather than seeing it as a threat.
However, if you look like me (i tend to stand out with grey hair and a grey beard) they soon get to know you and they realise they aren’t going to get a sell and are happy just to shoot the breeze for a few minutes.