Taxi driver: “Where are you from?”
Taxi driver: “Ahhh Kangaroo!
Us: “Haha yep that’s us”
Taxi driver: “Sydney, Melbourne?”
Us: “Oh, um… no, Brisbane…”
Taxi driver: “Oh… I don’t know.”
Us: “Yeah, that’s okay, man.”
I couldn’t tell you how many times we had this conversation after jumping into the back of a taxi. The same one, every time. Poor old Brisbane. It was a conversation we managed to avoid in the lovely city of Hoi An however, where just about all the food, culture and sights you could see were in walking or biking distance of our hotel.
Hoi An’s uber pretty, lantern filled, cobblestoned old town was a tourist’s delight and left me wondering why I did need to eat those extra two doughnuts .
Yep, on every corner there was a food cart selling doughnuts, banana pancakes and coconut buns freshly fried up for you on the spot.
Living it up with $2 pho for breakfast almost made us too full to down these treats for morning tea but it was so worth it.
And then there was lunch.
‘What?’ you’re thinking, ‘Surely she couldn’t fit in lunch as well after all of this?’
No, no, there was bánh mì to be had, of course we kept eating!
Super simple, so satisfying and just all round delicious bánh mì.
Kudos to the person who looked at the Vietnamese salad their mum just whipped up for them at lunch and thought ‘You know what, I’m going to put this into one of those baguette things that the French brought over.’ (Real historical account, obviously).
The incorporation of Vietnamese flavours into the sweet and chewy setting of the humble baguette is a winner and leaves you wanting more every time. Seriously.
The choices of ingredients are endless and give a new flavour to the sandwich with every addition. Add some cream cheese and extra chilli sauce to your spit roasted pork with the salad and you will not regret it. Alternatively, buy a baguette from your local French bakery and/or the lady with her bicycle basket filled with them and load that up with whatever you can find.
So, as you can probably tell, the four days in Hoi An were mostly spent eating but in between we managed to squeeze in a bike ride through the country side, believe it or not. I may sound irrational when I say this, but after years of not touching a bike, I think it’s possible I forgot how to ride one. I fell off twice going at the grand speed of 10km an hour. But anyway, moving on.
We made it unscathed to have a brush with fame at the house of the oldest and probably happiest couple in Hoi An.
He was 94 and she was 88 and neither of them ever stopped smiling. This, I assume, was because their garden was so damn nice. Everyday, they and their family work on the rows and rows of vegetables, herbs and flowers that could make even the hungriest of meat-eaters impressed.
With the infectious happiness of Le Van So and Nguyen Thi Loi, we rode on our bicycles all the way to Nha Trang, 510km away.
Just kidding. We rode back to the hotel to our warm pho, chewy doughnuts, bánh mì and good company. Happy, happy, happy.