After watching the Top Gear Vietnam special, we decided to rent motorbikes and drive from Hue to Hoi An, over the mountains through the Hai Van Pass. We sent one of our bags by bus so that we wouldn't have so much to carry.
Ha arrived just after our breakfast and tied our bag to the back of Greg’s bike. We hopped on the bikes and after 37 seconds of instruction, we took off into the chaotic insanity of a downtown Hue street, trying to follow our guide to the edge of the city. We wove in and out and around bicycles, pedestrians, large trucks and random objects and amazingly didn't manage to hit anything. It really was like a video game… Then we reached the roundabout. Traffic going every which way, scooters by the hundreds. I used my yacht racing skills and pretended it was a very aggressive start line… hold your course, hold your course, gybe, luff, harden up, go for it!!!
We left our guide, and headed south. passing though little towns and villages. Restaurants and stores selling everything lined the streets. The scenery became more and more awesome. We decided to stop for another amazing Vietnamese coffee. Greg decided on a place to stop rather suddenly, and as I tried to make the turn before the shoulder turned into cliff, my foot caught a rock holding their sign up, which caused me to accidentally lean on the gas… I managed to stop before hurtling down into their freshly planted rice paddy, but not before knocking their other sign askew… We said sorry. Their coffee was good and that extra kick of caffeine helped settle my stupid tourist first day on a bike nerves.
The drive was the most amazing part of the trip so far. When I get home, I am buying a scooter. I know I won't think that when I get home, but right now it really seems like a great idea.
We ate lunch on top of the mountain and then drove down and visited the Marble Mountains. Finally we drove into Da Nang and then on to Hoi An.
Hoi An is probably the most romantic little town I have ever visited. In the old part of the city, there are lots of little streets where cars are not allowed. Lovely silk lanterns are hung everywhere, and soft music, and incense drifts through the laneways. The river is filled with gondolas and floating lanterns. You can buy five paper lanterns with candles for $1, to float on the water during your gondola ride. The night market is on the other side of the river. All of it is beautiful.