Two overnight buses later...

Trip Start Mar 30, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

arrived in Hoi An and i don't think i've ever seen a town with more tailors in my life. there must be hundreds. everywhere you look is a tailor, with all sorts of suits, jackets, dresses etc on display. i recover from the bus rides, hire a bike and ride to the beach to discover the hottest sand ever.

it is impossible to fall asleep there, as Vietnamese women and children constantly stop in front of you saying "buy something?" and offer their selection of pineapple, bananas, cigarrettes, chips, candy and gum. some of them are cool, they understand you don't want anything at the moment, and they say "ok, you remember me. i'm so and so. you buy from me." and they go away. but 15 minutes later, they return to say "buy something?" when you refuse, they respond... "ohhh... i no sell anything today. please. i no sell." sometimes it's "happy hour" and they offer a deal. young kids say they need money to go to school. the entire time they really play off your guilt, with puppy-dog faces and pouty lips. as bad as i feel, i don't have the cash to continually buy the junk food they're selling, and it becomes worth it to make my way down the beach, far away from the crowds.

that night i go out to dinner with Tim and Alex, an Aussie couple from my hotel, to a place called Cafe des Amis. the chef there, Mr. Kim, greets us at our table and asks where we're from, and proceeds to talk about Australia and America. then he asks if we want "vegetarian, beef, or seafood" and that's all the choice you have. Tim and i go for seafood, and are served a five course meal including a rice/corn soup, White Rose wontons - AMAZING dish, specific to Hoi An, a platter of stif-fried calamari and vegetables, and a big hunk of local fish each. dessert is a small custard of some sort, and the price for the whole meal is 60,000 Dong, about $4.

the next day is beach time again, and lunch at a local place where i get Cao Lau, another Hoi An specialty, as the noodles for the dish are made from the water from a local well. it's served in a bowl - noodles, local greens and bean sprouts, fried croutons and thin, tender slices of pork, with just a little broth. again, an amazing dish. that night i pick up the suit i had made, and i am thoroughly satisfied. custom fitted suit for $50! i also got a couple of shirts fitted. i thought it was a good amount, but most other travelers were getting winter coats, two and three suits, five shirts, etc.

i was tempted to get some custom made boxers, but i stuck with my original order, and for recommending the place to others for more business, the owner took us all out to dinner that night at a local place down a back alley called Bale Well. we sit down, the only Westerners there, and they immediately bring out platters of fried spring rolls, as well as the ingredients to make your own fresh pork spring rolls - rice paper, grilled pork on skewers, greens, some sort of chutney and a chili sauce. then came the Vietnamese pancakes. we stuffed ourselves, and had a couple beer Larues, the local beer, all on the tailor, who was great to talk with the whole night, giving local opinions on the state of Hoi An, a growing tourist town.
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