Shopping! Shopping! Shopping!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, October 24, 2005

Hoi An is our favorite spot in Viet Nam so far. It is more traditional and is easy to walk around in. There is a river running through the ciy with cute little restaurants lining the shore. There are boats constantly going up and downstream loaded with bicycles and motorbikes late at night. This was a boat taxi, we were told. Our first day here, we just explored the city along with the over 300 tailor shops covering many streets. Ladies constantly walking up to us saying, "Sorry, where you from? Sorry, what your name? Sorry, where you going? Later you come to my cloth shop?" We learned very quickly that they pull you into their shops, sit you down and give you 2-3 catologues, tell you how beautiful you are and begin choosing clothes for them to make for you. Being our first day, we immediately began telling them that we were "just looking, not buying". This worked fairly well for us and we were able to begin to start to compare prices from shop to shop. Although clothes were quite similar in most shops, some prices varied. Being the ever-so-experienced bargainers that we are, we would mention that we saw the identical piece of clothing for less at another shop. They quickly responded with, "Oh, no, no! I use much bettter material. You see, you see." Then they would grab our arms, pull us into the back and start showing us all the material that they have - which was oddly quite the same as the other shops.

Our second day in Hoi An we decided to venture out and actually get clothes made for us, now that we had a price range in mind. We went as warriors into battle, sticking to our guns and our prices, vowing to only purchase a maximum of 4 items. We went to a shop that we remembered had quite good prices and as always friendly ready-and-eager girls by our side. The young girl was an excellent sales lady, she was quite funny and we had a good time with her. When Dana couldn't decide on the colors of fabric she wanted for an outfit, the girl smiled and said, "I know, you get two!" Dana told her she was "comecomedingding" which means 'crazy', and the girl thought it was hilarious that we were using vietnamese words to joke with her. (we can't spell the words, but we write them the way they sound).
After thinking we would only purchase a kimono, we ended up asking her to make, the kimono, 2 dresses, a suit, a bathing suit, and a leather jacket.
The girl and her sister took our measurements. They started with Trevor, taking his measurements she said, "OOOOOH! Lots of material!!" Feeling pressure on his bladder, Trevor left quickly for the bathrom which was next door. He returned to find Dana, with her dress up around her chest and the two girls with measuring tape and hands everywhere. They just got to know eachother WAY better. We placed the order around 2:00pm, and she told us to come back the next day around 1:00pm and they would be ready.

It turns out that a jacket the tailor was making for us needed some adjustments. It wouldn't take long we were told, so we decided to wait in the shop. We ARE learning, but apparently, we still believe most things we are told, when in fact most things we are told in Viet Nam are almost never totally true.. In this case, however, it was the half truth turned out to be quite fun.
The younger sister who (who we thought was about grade 8 - ended up she was 19) brought a deck of cards over and sat with us. She spoke very little english at best and so we were unsure on how this was going to work. We ended up catching onto the game fiarly quickly, the game was quite similar to "Presidents and Janitors". (There is a more popular name for this game, but for those younger readers, we shall leave it with a PG rating).
The main difference in this new game was that they thouroughly enjoyed SLAPPING the card down with authority on the card table. Eventually, upon our turn, we were standing, crouched as if in redy position, and throwing the card down witha loud SNAP! Once this game was finished, Dana decided to show them a card trick. A story goes along with this trick and due to the language barrier, the card trick also turned into charades just to make sure the general story got passed along. Mission Complete! The 4 Jacks made it to the top of the deck, the trick was successful, and the girl was jumping up and down, laughing and giving us high-fives. She gave the deck back and said, "More!" Since we only knew one more, we nodded and began. By the end of this trick (a very good one,we might add...) her chair was knocked over, there was plenty more jumping and clapping and we got high-fives, high-tens and hugs for everyone, while laughing uncontrollably. That's not even the best part - she jumped onto Dana's lap, hugging her and sqealing. She was great fun.
Her older brother also showed up and was quite interested as well. When Dana finished her card trick for him, he wanted to show us one as well. We then exchanged our magical secrets (like no real magicain ever would). It was quite amazing that these two hours of cards and games was all done without even understanding 10 words of eachothers languages.

Well, our shopping experience is complete. We are worn out warriors, but feel that we did the job. We have sent some clothes home by sea mail, which takes about 3-4 months - but we're in no real hurry, are we?

Also in Hoi An, it is rainy season, and there has been some flooding. There is a river that runs through the middle of the city and our first day here, we walked along it and checked out the restarants along the street. Two days later, those restaurants are no longer open, because the street infront of them is now a river! We have some pictures and a video that we will add to the site to try and show this. In some places we are sure the water on the street would be to our waists. We are now thinking of renting a boat, romantically floating down the 'river' infront of the shops and paying some Vietnamese guy to sing us some spanish songs. (They'll do anything for a buck).

We were supposed to go on a tour today to Cham Ruins, but because of the flooding, they cancelled the tour, saying it was too dangerous. If it's too dangerous for the Vietnamese, it's definitely too dangerous for us! Instead, we booked a bus to Hue and will be leaving this cute little town tonight.

Hugs and Love,
Dana and Trevor
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