The comforting feeling of not having an alarm that would wake me made me so relaxed that by 07:00 in the morning I couldn’t sleep anymore. As the sleeping beauty besides me has no troubles sleeping all day I lay in bed reading until at 09:30 when I decide Marlies her day should start as well. We pack our bags including the fresh laundry and checked out to have breakfast down the street. With French toast, pancakes, good coffee and fresh fruit juice we hung around the coffee shop reading and relaxing until it was time to get to Da Nang airport. We accepted the 2 euro upgrade and treated ourselves to a private car instead of a tourist bus.
As we left Hoi An behind we drove up the coast about the same route as had come down on with our scooter a few days before. Without having to focus on traffic I could spend more time taking in the scenery, besides the rice fields the coast line was also an almost continues line of construction sites. The Da Nang region seems to have Dubai like ambitions as the better part of the coast was being changed into a long line of exclusive but uninspiring resorts which are unlikely to contribute to what’s left of Hoi An’s authentic experience. We arrive at the airport well in time and decide to splurge some more and pay the extra 5 euros for emergency exit seats before we pass security and lunch at Burger King. The whopper is than washed away with a Heineken beer to finish our “half way through our holiday western food and drinks day”.
During the 90 minute flight we pass time with a small nap befitting landing at Ho Chi Minh City, as we step out of the plain we are welcomed by humid 29 degree air. Well prepared thanks to the lonely planet we make sure to take a taxi from one of the companies that is least likely to rip us of and head into the largest city of Vietnam. HCM has over seven and a half million inhabitants and by the looks of it all of them have at least one scooter. Hanoi and Da Nang, city number two and three of Vietnam, are villages compared to the more modern and buzzing Ho Chi Minh City. We take in the city on the ride to hotel and compare it to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manilla and by this find out the unique things each city offers.
Our hotel offers a pool and bar on the eleventh floor where we enjoy a cold beer in the damp heat of the night and overlook the city. We leave our hotel and start to wander the streets to find an evening market with the familiar variation of branded clothing and enthusiastic markets sellers. We continue our walk to find an open air Korean bbq restaurant where we enjoy beers, prawns, salmon and chicken that we cook on our table. The short flight, the warmer climate and different atmosphere makes it feel like we are starting a second holiday and we cheers to that.