Fay and Daniel's tailor made adventure
A small ancient French colonial town built 150 years ago. Tiny, narrow roads with petit yellow buildings with wooden shutters to keep out the heat. Most of the buildings were restaurants, souvenir shops but most of all... Tailors!
Hoi An is famous for it's tailors and is the number 1 capital in the world for having tailor made clothes. Over 500 shops just in the small beautiful town set by the river. Most tailors specialise in tailoring suits, however they also tailor shoes, dresses and anything you wish for!
In the day Hoi An is a bussling town with great buys, historical monuments, and local people wanting a chat. At night though, Hoi An turns into a beautiful area of lights, love and great food. The river especially is stunning with giant paper made ornaments floating on the river while lit up. There was a giant dragon, fish... (our pictures are more beautiful than my explanation).
It was lucky that we were in Hoi An as we both wanted tailored clothes. Daniel 'wished' for a luxurious suit and I a winter coat. Well the genious at 'Kimmy' tailors granted our wishes, with a quick choice of fabric and a dance with a tape measure and 3 days later our wishes were granted. Daniel had his cashmir and wool suit with a bamboo silk lining, and I had my cashmir and wool coat with silk/satin lining! We really enjoyed getting pampered and as our tailor kept saying, "made beautiful".
It was suprising that what lined all the streets were actually Chinese paper lanterns. Vietnam culture, we began to realize is a mixture of Asian ethnicities and cultures.
We were very fortunate to have been involved with one of their ancient traditions... BINGO!!! Yes even the vietnamese play this game, but it's a tad different to the one we are used to.
At dinner across the river we noticed on the other side a group gathering in a wooden sheltered area. We had always wondered what the shelter was used for, as in the day it is completely empty and unused. Curious of the fuss and mass if locals we ventured over the bridge. 2 Vietnamese singers, one man and a lady were singing and jigging down the mic. Meanwhile I had been spotted by a local elderly lady and was encouraged to join them (in sign language of course). I was thrust a wooden paddle with a picture celetaped to it (it looked like a black and White snake on mine). It also had a Vietnamese word on it, but of course I had no idea what it meant.
I knew it was a game by this point, not just watching a couple sing. I was totally embarrassed as I had no idea what was happening. Where was Daniel in all of this rukus? Daniel was 3 metres behind me laughing at my predicament. Well Daniel wished he hadn't made a single move, as he was then the next victim to be ushered into the confusion.
I decided to just sit back and enjoy the music. It was extremely entertaining and cultural. I was then thrust a yellow flag in my hand and the elders I was with started screaming like teenagers. So to join in I started to wave my flag like a victory movement above my head. Only to see that no one else was, I quickly withdrew my enthusiasm. At the end of the game the elder next to me grabbed my flag as she had won the game of bingo, collecting all the images shown throughout the game. The way the game works is that you're given a paddle with a picture on. The singers sing a word that they pick from a bowl. If the word is on your paddle you get a flag, when you have recieved a flag for all your paddles you win the game.
It was a great local experience, one I am sure Daniel and especially I will never forget. Even the music is still in my head, la la la...
There is not an incredible amount else to do in Hoi An. One thing we decided to do, to pass the time while our clothes were being made, was to buy a pass for some cultural and historical sights around the old town. We visited the old bridge, a temple and an old house. The house was over 140 years old, and all the furniture was still the original. When you enter the house and take a seat on one if the original grand chairs you get given a tipple if green tea or Vietnamese tea as they refer to it. You are given a brief overview of the house, its occupants, its history and its future. Over 6 generations have lived in this well furnished house. The 6th living in it right now. Daniel found it interesting seeing this old house in its original state with original contents. There's not much around Vietnam like this as many villages and towns have crumbled or been severely destroyed through wars with France, China and the US in recent years. Because nothing historic is really standing anymore it seems the country rely on it's Coastal beach resorts for tourism. Though we have heard that north Vietnam is especially stunning so we shall see.
We loved Hoi An and would love to come visit again one day. Whether it's to get more clothes made or to eat the truelly incredible fried spring rolls, don't fret, we will be back :)