A driver picked me up at the Da Nang airport and shuttled me one hour to my riverside hostel just outside the Old Town area of Hoi An. It was far enough away from the bustle yet, from there I could walk everywhere. I joined in on the pop quiz night, despite my nervousness about meeting new people again. I wasn’t much help but my team won anyway. Then, a baker’s dozen of us went out on an unofficial pub crawl. Because there were so many of us the bars gave us some free shots!
The next day, a bunch of us went out for dinner and I ordered pumpkin soup in honor of the Canadian Thanksgiving that I had just missed out on. And, we ended up going on a pub crawl again. … I headed back very soon after the Old Town bars closed at midnight, with a quick dance or two at Tiger Tiger – the only other bar that stays open late. It had military or police waiting outside to control people. At first, the guy wouldn’t let me out of the bar; he kept shaking his head and pointing at the soldier. I shouted, “I can’t go home?!” And he finally let me out.
I was picked up at 8 AM the following day for my cooking tour. The guide took us on a tour of the markets, showing us different things like spices, vegetables, and seafood and we bought a few ingredients. Then we got on a river boat and made our way down to see a man fishing with a net. He showed us how to do it and let a few of us try. None of us caught anything; the guide told me later that there are no fish in that part of the river and that we just did it for fun. We rode a bit further and transferred over to a little round basket boat with an old lady paddling. She had made me a ring from a banana leaf then made me paddle with her. It was tough! She must have been a very strong lady!
We tried fishing with a rod and I STILL didn’t catch anything! But two of the kids did and we used that fish for our meal. We learned how to make salad rolls, shrimp chips, papaya salad with pork and shrimp, steamed fish and some other pork dish, along with the sauces. It was fun! The teacher was nice and she spoke good English. The food was really good and they provided us with a cookbook. Afterward, I rode a bike to the beach and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing in a hammock.