Day 38: Hoi An woodcarving village
Claire: My first morning in over a month without Gav (I kinda liked it...shh) as he headed off at the crack of dawn for a woodcarving class.
On his return we checked into a new hotel, extending our stay in Hoi An for another couple of nights. We were recommended a place called Christina's by our friends back home who had visited last year and on arrival we were greeted with a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with a little Christmas message from them!!! Thank you Ryan and Lisa, we love you. We also love this hotel, it's definitely our kind of place.
Christina's is about 4km from the town so it's super peaceful, nestled behind the organic vegetable farm. The sun was out so we grabbed some bicycles and went to the beach, the cycle was pretty fun... until we got to the coast. It was ace to see the sea, but the wind was just incredibly strong! We couldn't even stand on the beach as the sand attacked us like little needles in the air. We got our glimpse of the blue waters though, yay. Bit nippy for a dip mind!
Gav's day 38 takeaway
- Whilst Claire lazed about in bed, the man of the house got up for an early and lonely breakfast and hit the morning commute with the locals on an island called Cam Kim, just a short hop south of Hoi An.
- I've seen a lot of local skills still being practiced in the various communities since we got here. There's certainly very little in terms of big industry in many places (except tourism) which is real nice. One such trade is woodcarving and having stumbled past a local workshop in Luang Prabang I'd decided I was going to become a master sculptor. How hard can it be?
- I booked my morning class on Backstreet Academy which is a great little initiative out in this part of the world, and made it roughly to the meeting place on time where I expected I might find a bunch of eager tourists looking as eager as I was.
- But all I got was smirks and comments from the locals setting up for the days market and 10 minutes quickly past without any sign of anyone who might look remotely helpful, never mind any travel buddies for the morning. So I found a workshop full of wood-shavings next door and after some embarrassing communicative gestures, a man made a phone call to a woman wearing pyjamas who spoke a bit of English and I was on my way!
- Round the corner was a small garden workshop where I was sat down at the work bench with two guys who spoke no English but who were working away on their projects, chiseling with a speed and precision that brought home just how over ambitious I had been with my expectations even before I started.
- And for the next 3 hours they would oversee me transform a raw block of oak into a beautifully smooth and intricate wooden bowl, kind of like a small fruit bowl or something. Or to be more specific, I would make several token efforts to transform a block of oak and the master carver would look at what I've done with sympathy and complete the task I'd been attempting for the last half hour in 5 minutes. Needless to say, this was a humbling but fascinating lesson in the art of wood carving, one that has intrigued me with how easy it is to understand some of the basics and have a go at, but one that I have a new found respect for