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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

At least I enjoyed the latter task. I found a stall in the market with a great selection of nonsensically-named Vietnamese notepads. In the end, I chose two hardback notebooks, pleasingly both with maps of the world in the front. The first, emblazoned with the word "Worst", I planned to use as an address book to store the contact details of my most treasured Round the World friends. Mmm, tastes like iron! Equally bizarre yet strangely apt was my new diary, a notebook entitled "Race Relations". These perfect purchases made my day. Perhaps I should get out more?

Day 144: 24th June
Twinkle Twinkle South China Sea
The flag of Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

I'd managed to get Noesha to promise to avoid any clothes shops today, to stop her from ordering more and hence enable us to actually leave Hoi An.

We gave the beach one last outing, staying long after dark. Noesha somehow convinced me to go swimming at night. The sight of an inky black, endless ocean had me whimpering and hankering for my armbands. But we waded in, and I saw something I'd heard about before but never really believed.