Shop 'till you drop
Trip Start Mar 07, 2012
21Trip End Mar 24, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
If it sounds too good to be true, it is; you have to negotiate pretty fiercely, and with so many shops, it's tough to make sure you're getting good quality items. But even so, the temptation was far too great for me to resist. At home, I detest shopping, since I'm one of those sizes that clothing manufacturers seem to have decided does not exist. I could go on about how women come in more than five or six different sizes, but that's a rant for another day. Here in Hoi An, though, out comes the tape measure, and everything is made to fit.
After breakfast, I hit the shops on a mission. Within three hours, I'd arranged to buy a three-piece suit, a skirt, three dress shirts, a blouse and a blazer. I can't tell you yet how any of it turned out; I'll let you know in a couple of days, after going back for a fitting or two. But my fingers and toes are crossed that it will all be really great when it's done.
By that point, it was above 30 degrees again, and I quite literally had shopped 'till I dropped. I came back to the hotel, grabbed my sunscreen and a book, and sat in the shade by the pool for a couple of hours, until the hottest part of the day had subsided. It was nice to just relax for a change -- no sightseeing, no activities, no rushing to catch a train or a bus, and very few photos taken. Just a much-needed afternoon off, totally guilt-free. After all, I'm on vacation.
Once the sun set, I headed back out for the evening to spend some time checking out the town beyond the tailor shops. There are old heritage houses and temples scattered amidst the shops, and the area along the river is very lively and picturesque. I walked down to the food market and meandered through the stalls of the cloth market. Hoi An is touristy, sure, but somehow the kitsch and hard selling seem counterbalanced by a certain laid-back charm. There's no beach directly in town -- the nearest one is about four kilometers down the road -- but the whole place has the feel of a beach resort anyway. The pace is slow here, which is definitely nice, especially since I expect Saigon will be the complete opposite.
For dinner tonight, I once again had food with a cause. Like KOTO in Hanoi, the STREETS Restaurant in Hoi An is a project dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth learn cooking and hospitality skills to go onto solid careers. The young people working at the restaurant were all really enthusiastic about explaining the project, and the food was excellent.
All in all, a good -- albeit expensive -- day. But if the clothes I ordered turn out even half as nice as I hope they will, it will be money well spent.