Betty & Nancy bid farewell to Asia

Harvesting has begun in the rice paddies, the tourist numbers are dwindling, wet season is looming, and our gym membership has just expired. We have just ticked over the beginning of week 26 and our 10th week in Hoi An and our amazing Asian adventure is coming to a close. We have had a great time catching up with old Vietnamese friends and meeting new ones while here in Hoi An.

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3 old ladies taking time out from walking on the rice husks to help the drying process.

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The school being used to dry the rice (above) on a Sunday. The roads are covered in it, front yards of houses (below) so a timely reminder to always wash your rice!

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We have reluctantly started packing up Betty and Nancy for the journey home. They have been worthy steeds, taking care of us for 3500km and navigating the Vietnamese traffic, which is no mean feat, with minimal road rules. We have seen more than enough crashes over the past 6 months so fingers crossed we survive tomorrow on the free hotel bikes.

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We have been so fortunate to have had the most amazing experience. We have seen so much poverty and hardship offset with the most generous and resilient people who have never been short of a friendly wave, smile and hello.

Our minimalistic lifestyle that we have been adapting over the past few years is not a lifestyle choice here in many parts of Asia but is one they strive to achieve. It makes our perceived problems in the western world seem trivial and pale in comparison to daily existence. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, take a deep breath and not sweat the small stuff.

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We have been treated so well on this journey throughout the 4 countries we have visited but without a doubt Myanmar has been the highlight with its unpretentious and simple way of life.

That being said our final few days in Hoi An have been really special with our good friends. (See pics above)

When we hit Australia this weekend we will have to ditch the charades and pigeon English as we immerse ourselves back to the western way of life and adjust our thermostats that have been sitting in the mid 30s for most of the trip.

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Hanging in Hoi An

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Well folks here we are in the beautiful Hoi An (Central Vietnam) having a ball. After riding just over 3000km through Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar we have had one incredible adventure. As in the past on arrival in Vietnam the desire to continue to ride goes out the window as the traffic is ridiculously chaotic and getting more so every year. Betty and Nancy quite happy pottering around the town and rice fields, exploring restaurants, cafes and visiting friends we have met over the years.

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So it is awesome to be here and call it home for 9 weeks. Phuc Thao Villa our perfect digs for NZ$26 per night including breakfast with the most fantastic group of staff.

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A little aircon maintenance required in our room. Not sure if OSH would be too impressed with the chair and ‘Long’ balancing on the bed.

Exploring the outskirts of Hoi An around the pottery and fishing villages.

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Fishing village and life on the boat

The sad side of the crazy tourism growth in Hoi An. Has certainly changed from the sleepy village we first visited 12 years ago. It is now a bustling town with Chinese and Korean tourists arriving on mass following their guide with the coloured flag. Ongoing construction, and lack of infrastructure is putting huge pressure on this small town with more rubbish every year floating in the once prestine river.

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Rubbish everywhere in the river

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The market winding down after another busy day
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Time out on the scooter
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The Hill Station our favourite place for a crafty and vino
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Betty was taken for a test drive and wow the smile on this kids face said it all.

There is still something magical about this place and the people. Although we can’t quite work out why “The Carpenters” is the music of choice in every venue be it instrumental, jazz, Vietnamese, or the original version…….? Our hotel seems to enjoy playing Richard Clayderman greatest hits every morning during breakfast which also has a couple of Carpenters classics thrown in the mix.

Great fun catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Catching up with Julie who we met in 2017
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Catching up with Ngout and Lort who we met in 2016
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Our new Phuc Thao friends

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Dinner with the Phuc Thao team last night

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So there won’t be many blog posts over the next 6 weeks as we are settled in to our Hoi An routine of running through the paddy fields, going to the local gym, sampling more great Vietnamese cuisine and coffee which would have to be the strongest coffee in SE Asia………..and of course Leo’s cousin is always welcome at the end of a scorching hot day and at only NZ.76 per 440ml bottle it tastes even better.

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