January 21st – Bob’s birthday! We started the day off with a delicious bowl of Pho Ga (pronounced Fa) for breakfast. This is the traditional Vietnamese soup that is found in almost every restaurant. Biking to the beach was next on the agenda, so we rented bikes & headed out of Hoi An, past the rice paddies & lush gardens to Cua Dia beach, some 5 kilometres from our Homestay. The beach goes on forever, was relatively clean, quite deserted & had numerous basket boats waiting for the hoards of tourists who are no doubt elbow to elbow on warmer days. A walk was in order & the crashing waves were enjoyed while discovering some very interesting artifacts no doubt washed ashore following the recent typhoon. We continued on our trip riding past the big beach side resorts & into small villages. We had read about the Hoi An Blind Massage & decided to look it up & treat ourselves to a full body treatment. Quang, the owner lost his eyesight from some left over explosives from the war. Along with is wife Thu, they are professionally trained & work to support themselves & help other blind therapists to live independently. We had the best 1 hour full body massage for a whopping $5.00 each! The areas outside the town of Hoi An are lush with vegetable fields, ice paddies & herb gardens. The rows of vegetation are so well maintained & the colours vivid.
After a 15K ride we headed back into town to explore the different districts & ended up in to day market. Quite interesting, needless to say. I think the pictures will give you a good idea of the various wares the street vendors were hawking.
We finished off the day by having dinner at Secrets Garden, an intimate little restaurant with wonderful Vietnamese dishes. According to Bob, best birthday ever!