Tailor Shopping

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, April 11, 2010

With a distance of about 150km between Hue and Hoi An you would think a nice easy journey... however this was not the case. We were picked up at 8am by one bus, only to be dumped at the side of the road to get another one ten minutes later. We waited in this hot bus for an hour, until we had everyone onboard and could start the journey. The air con we had been promised blew out hot air, so windows were the better option. The road to Hoi An was very windy with some stunning views, but it meant the speed of travel was very slow. We also had an unnecessary (and very hot!) half hour stop at a roadside cafe, and didn't arrive until 1pm, 5 hours from our departure! Having showered and freshened up at our latest hotel, we ventured into the old city to find quiet, clean, small streets filled with tailors and restaurants, and even with speakers along the road playing soothing music... definitely our kind of place! Hoi An has 3 specialty dishes, namely fried wontons, white roses (dumplings with prawns) and Cae Lau (thick noodles with meat in a soup). We tried all three for lunch, and all of them were delicious!

Fully fed by this stage, we went clothes shopping! It was pretty hard to know where to start, and I ended up in one tailor solely because I liked the colour of a dress on display outside! I found myself giving a very rough design of what I like (not being the most fashion conscious girl, I was a little clueless), so I was fairly nervous handing over a deposit for something which I had almost no idea would look like tomorrow! Ben did some research on Thorntree, and we ventured to Mr Xe’s; recommended for his perfectionism and character. We definitely saw that! Deciding on what material, pattern, colour and style was hard enough, then lining colour and shirts to match... Ben went for 5 shirts and 2 suits, while I stuck with 1 shirt with a suit, skirt and trousers. While we were bargaining for a good price, time was more our worry as we had a flight to Saigon less than 48 hours later. Fortunately, time seemed no problem for Mr Xe, if anything we think he relished the deadline! On a role that evening, I picked out 2 other dresses, both already made, just needing a little adjusting. Both were so cheap, it was so much fun!

The next morning we decided to fit some beach action in rather than waiting in town for our clothes to be made. The nearest beach was only 2km away so we thought why not walk? It turned out to be more like 5km and an hours walk along a road with rice fields either side, in what was fairly blazing sunshine! We were certainly the only ones walking, but hey - good exercise! Upon arrival, we found the beach almost deserted, with only a few deck chairs and bowl shaped boats. It was beautiful, and gave us 2 hours of very peaceful sunbathing and reading! Suckers for punishment, we then walked back into town, in good time for our 3 appointments for the fittings...

So the dress I had designed actually turned out ok, although I don’t think Ben was so impressed, as it didn’t show off my "assets" enough, haha! Next, it was on to Mr Xe....which again was fairly successful; only a few minor changes for Bens suits and length of shirts. My jacket was proving a little trickier, and led to Mr Xe rushing me onto the back of his motorised bike (in my new suit!) to the factory, whizzing through the baking hot streets of Hoi An to discuss the problem... Agreeing to return for another fitting, we had some free time to see the rest of the city outside the tailors shops!

Back that evening at Mr Xe’s (seeing the same other tourists for their fittings again), Ben got a very excited “YES” from Mr Xe, which was the noise he made when he was finally happy with everything. For me however, I was marched back to the tailors with another girl, feeling a bit of a prat in my suit & having to hold this girls hand! I had been quite happy with what I had tried on, but with Mr Xe, it is when he is happy that it counts! In the end, I had to wait until the next morning to get my excited “YES”, an hour or so before our ride to the airport! All that was left was to somehow fit all this into our bags...
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