We were off to a great start this morning. Happy we would only have a 1 hr flight to Da Nang. There’s never a dull moment with Chauncey and her so down to earth mother, Gert (aka Thelma and Louise). In going through security, they confiscated Chauncey’s “bullet necklace” she purchased in Saigon and how in the world Mom got through SFO and Taipei with a knife in her backpack is beyond me. Leaving Saigon, she told the Security officer, “just take it. I didn’t know it was in there”. Smh. That gave us all a good laugh.
We were greeted by our guide, Mr. Phai, such a knowledgeable, soft spoken humble gentleman. En route to our resort in HOI AN, our first stop was the Museum of Cham Sculpture. The Kingdom of Chams dominated southern Vietnam culturally and politically for about 1,000 years. The Chams of Champa are the original Black Civilization of Vietnam. This museum has the largest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. All excavated, mostly dating back to the 10th Century. The museum is full of statues, friezes, altars and other items. You can see so many statues here clearly showing African influence.
Our next stop, one of my favorites; China Beach, where our troops went for R and R. Due to some political brouhaha with China, it has been renamed Da Nang Beach so we are not to refer to it as China Beach in public. It is such a beautiful beach. Anyone wishing to visit the next couple of days are welcome to return. Immediately, the group could feel the difference in the busy, hustle and bustle of Saigon and now the more calmness and peacefulness of Da Nang. Soon we were at THE ALMANITY RESORT in Hoi An. Da Nang was my first choice to stay but none would include a 60 min spa treatment and 90 mins in the spa daily. ALMANITY HOI AN WELLNESS RESORT is sheer tranquility and serenity.
Check in was quick, smooth and sweet; we were seated in the bar area, given a cool refreshing towel and a healthy welcome drink while giving us an overview of the property and then we were shown to our rooms. We needed to make our upcoming appointments for our massages. Time was running out. I know, I know…”Kat you don’t even like strange folks rubbing on you”. Right! That was before last year in Saigon. They made a true believer out of me. Lol. The others went to the Spa to make appointments. I let my fingers push the buttons on my room phone and snagged one of the few appointments available for the afternoon. Today was the “herbal compress massage” and in a word it was FABULOUS! and I look forward to the next 2 days: Bamboo Stick and Aromatherapy.
We were picked up by our private bus and Mr. Phai for our welcome dinner at BROTHER CAFE just a few minutes from the resort. We dined Al fresco riverside and were served a Vietnamese set menu that was excellent.
Tomorrow, after breakfast we will journey by boat to the Cooking School. This is guaranteed to be quite the experience here in this culinary capital.