Quan Cong Temple
Woke up 9:30am and headed to breakfast before it finished at 10am. Today I had fresh pineapple and mango, cocopops, apple juice, and a little bit of a croissant with honey. Wrote a postcard to Mum and Dad and caught up on the diary before heading back to Blue Eye tailors at about 10:45am to see how my coat and dress had turned out. The dress wasn't ready but the coat was. It was almost perfect except I wanted it a little more fitted around the lower ribs, and I had preferred the more yellowed-grey and yellowed-brown/black the buttons appeared on the model due to years of sun and dust! Ah well. There were also some pastel purple chalk marks on the grey but my tailor Miss Lan assured me they would wash out. I was told to come back in an hour or two to see the dress and the revised coat, so decided to pop into Lac Viet jewellery store to see if I could get Y's ring copied.
Assembly Hall of Fujian Chinese Congregation
They said they could do it with a gold band + cubic zirconia for US$85 or for cheaper gold US$75. That didn't thrill me too much so I was going to walk away, but she suggested it in silver for AU$22. I was happy with that, and I was reasonably pleased with the result which I picked up at 7:30pm that evening. They borrowed Y's ring for the day which I felt a bit bad about! After the jewellers I decided to walk around the Old Town as up til then I had seen nothing of Hoi An
's UNESCO world heritage history! I followed the suggestions about the most interesting places to see in Lonely Planet (ticket cost me 90,000D). My first stop was the Quan Cong Temple, but just inside was a regulations sign that said shoulders must be covered so I headed back to the Hoi An Cloth Market that I had passed on the way and bought an off-cut of the cheapest fabric the lady had in the first shop I entered: horrible hot sticky sky blue nylon for 10,000D.
Japanese Covered Bridge
The temple, founded in 1653, was lovely, and is named after and dedicated to a highly esteemed Chinese general who is worshipped as a symbol of loyalty, sincerity, integrity and justice. It was a small temple but peaceful and pleasant inside. I like how it had a bonsai rock garden in the middle of a pond. My next stop was the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation, a very grand place, used for worship of Thien Hau who protects sailors in distress. Many prayer coils hung from the roof in the main chamber. There was a replica of a Chinese boat there; 1:20 scale. To either side of Thien Hau's statue, at the entrance, were red-skinned Thuan Phong Nhi and green-skinned Thien Ly Nhan, deities who alert Thien Hau when sailors are in distress. In the final chamber there was a pond with many beautiful goldfish in the courtyard just outside.
Blue Eye Tailors
In the central altar there were seated figures of the heads of the six Fujian families, with the smaller figures below them representing their successors as clan leaders. The altar on the right was covered with fresh fruit and flowers, and childless couples often come there to pray for offspring. Behind the altar there are 3 fairies and 12 smaller figures representing the midwives, each of whom teaches newborns a different skill necessary for the first year of life: smiling, suckling etc. Used the toilet there for 1000D then headed to the Museum of Trading Ceramics, with artefacts from all over Asia, however mostly just broken bits of crockery that I didn't find too engaging. Planned to go to Tan Ky House then but it was shut for lunch so took a brief look at the Japanese Covered Bridge built first in the 1590s to link the Japanese and Chinese quarters.
Headed back to Blue Eye tailors to pick up my clothes. The dress fit like a glove and was perfect on first try. There was an Aussie couple in their 50s from QLD in the shop when I was trying it on and the guy said 'You'll met your husband in that dress'. Isn't that nice?! We'll see! The coat was a bit better too. E + L were there too and afterwards we headed next door to Green Moss (recommended by LP) for lunch. I had a coke and fried veggie spring rolls for 40,000D. L's fresh version looked divine. After lunch finished off my Old Town tour by going to the Handicraft workshop in a 200yo Chinese trading house, then to Tan Ky House, built 200 years ago. It was lovely inside and well-preserved. Afterwards I was totally stuffed so took a motorbike back to the hotel for US$1 where I spent a relaxing half hour in the pool.
At 3pm met up with Y, L + E for a bicycle and boat tour of Hoi An (20,000D for the bike, 50,000D for the boat). The bike tour lasted a bit over an hour and was very pleasant but tiring and I had a sore butt at the end! It was nice to get out of the town and see a bit of the countryside. We passed corn fields, peanut plantations, paddy fields and banana trees, among other things. There were no bells on the bikes but it didn't matter as the brakes screeched so loudly everyone knew you were coming! After the bike tour we went on a boat tour for about an hour. We headed over to Cam Lim Island, and more specifically to Kim Bong village to see some master woodcarvers at work. We headed back after that, to the hotel, where I washed my hair then met up with everyone at 7pm for tea.
We had planned to return to Gioan for tea but it was shut so instead went to Thuan Y next door. I had a mango shake, braised eggplant in claypot, and fried rice with vegetables for 80,000D. Yum! Went to Cargo Club for dessert, I had a delish strawberry tart which E kindly refused to let me pay for. Back to the hotel after that. Totally buggered!