A Delightfully Indulgent Day in Hoi An
When you visit Hoi An, you're more than likely to come away with a few tailor made goodies. Whether shoes or suits, coats or dresses (or in our case, all of the aforementioned!), you can easily grab a bargain - and one that fits you like a glove, to boot!
Back home I rarely shop for clothes. I find it so expensive, and as I am perpetually saving for more travel (and a house, and a wedding) I don't find clothes shopping a necessity. Rather, it is more of an indulgence. I may want a cute dress, but I don't need it. So it was nice to forget my rules get a some pretty clothes made on this trip, all while still staying within our budget.
That is one of the blessed things about travelling to Asia instead of Europe, you can afford to treat yourself and indulge a little...
Choosing your tailor can be an overwhelming experience (read the Buy section here for tips) - there are just so many to choose from, and they all raucously vie for your business. We strolled around for a while before settling on our tailor, the lovely Ngan. How did we pick her? It was quite simple, really, we instantly felt a connection with Ngan. She came up to us as we were passing through the crowded cloth hall and was friendly, confident and assured. We just knew she was our tailor. It sounds corny, doesn't it? But it's true, we just knew. It was love at first stitch...
I took in some pictures of clothing I wanted copied - the classic Burberry Trench Coat and a Valentino dress (big call, but she came through). Ben got 4 slimline suits made, as well as a bunch of business shirts and some casual ones too. We also had a suit and two shirts made for my brother, Jackson. Just in case you're interested, the suits were 120 AUD each and the shirts 15AUD each. My coat was 90 AUD my dress was 60AUD. We were thrilled with them all! I absolutely adore my new coat and dress. I don't have pictures of our goodies yet, as we are currently in the process of moving apartments and everything is packed up. No doubt I will be flaunting my new coat soon, though ;)
We (read: Ben) bargained the prices down a little (mainly the shirts) but honestly, it is not like in Morocco or other places - the price they quote you is usually very good, and in the end you may get it down a little, but what for...to save $5?
Ngan was the perfect tailor and hostess. On our last day, as we picked up our purchases, she brought over some Cao lầu and we sat in her little nook in the cloth market and enjoyed a meal together. I was sad to say goodbye.
We also had some shoes made by a different lady - cute booties and work flats for me, and a great casual pair of shoes for Ben. They were between 20-35 AUD for each pair, and they're fabulous.
After all that intense shopping, it is incredibly important to replenish your stores... with some Cơm bình dân (which, according to noodlepie, means "food for the workers").
We visited this little stand, just outside of the Old Town, for a serve of chicken, tofu, vegetables, egg, rice and soup. There are loads of Cơm bình dân restaurants all across Vietnam, a popular place for locals to fill up on the cheap.Our meal was really yummy! Well, the rice, tofu and vegetables were. And the soup, which is apparently flavoured with the rau má leaf (thanks for this information, Linh!), was also delicious - very refreshing, good for cutting through the heat of the chilli. The chicken, on the other hand, was not so great - very little meat and quite fatty. But we were quite impressed overall, especially for a dollar...
Staying hydrated is also necessary when indulging. A fresh coconut off the street from a man with a machete and a cart full of coconuts (and branches) is clearly the ideal choice.
Happy coconut juice dance...
And lastly, we felt it prudent to undergo a little pampering.
A haircut for Ben - please note the hilarious pictures on the walls. Clearly they served as inspiration for Ben's hairdresser, who was 100% rockin' the look.
And I treated myself to a little manicure. However my manicurist was decidedly unimpressed that I requested a clear polish. When I pointed out my desired colour (or lack there of), she let out a big sigh. Sorry, lady! I know you were pulling for lime green.
Tough day, hey ;)