Hoi An

Well, it’s been a little bit since I’ve written. We’ve been hustling and bustling along in Vietnam. Trying to keep pace with the locals. We a bus down to Hoi An. right off the bat I could tell that I was going to like it. As we drove into town we passed the old quarter and the UNESCO World Hertage Site. It was really stunning. Beautiful old buldings with lots of character. Most were painted yellow, but a few in between were a light blue. The town is split down the middle by a river and all along the banks are restaurants and bars. Everyday we walked down to the river to eat lunch and dinner.

Tailor shops are the main business in Hoi An. Simon recommended the Yaly shop to us. They are the largest tailors in town and seem to have the best materials. The minute you walk in the door dozens of young women clerks and tailors surround you and ask what you are looking for. Finally, one clerk is chosen and she always works with the same tailor. I’m not sure if I chose Lina or she chose me, but a match was made. I never caught the tailors name as he didn’t speak a word of english. Didn’t matter, he was talented.

First we sat down and looked through books of pictures and from each of the big fashion houses and picked a style. 3 buttons, straight pockets, double vent and cuffed pants with 4 pockets. Afterwards we walked around looking at all the different fabrics. There are set prices for everything depending on the fabric. I chose a charcoal/black wool from Gucci and we started the measuring process. It took about 3 minutes for the tailor to measure me and then they took a few photos of me for him to work off of. Next we looked at shirts. Again, fixed price depending on the fabric. I went with a Egyptian cotton. Lastly, we looked at silk ties. Tons of different patterns and all for $8. After about 30 minutes, at 3pm, she told me to come back at 11am the next day.

When I showed back up the next morning. Lina and the tailor came down with the suit and shirt. I tried it on and told them what I liked and didn’t like. We adjusted the jacket and pants and she told me to come back at 2pm. At 2pm, the shirt fit well, but I didn’t like the collar and the pants and jacket were pretty good, but just a bit tight in the butt and shoulders. They asked me if I could wait 15 minutes for them to fix. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, all of it came back fixed and fitting very well. I was totally amazed at their craftsmanship and efficieny. So much so, that when I saw a French gentleman trying on a tan cotton suit I asked them to make me one as well. They asked me to come back the next morning and it would be ready. The just copied the suit that they already made.

Great service, lots of fun and two custom suits, a shirt and tie for less than $300! I think I’ll be emailing them again for more.

Besides shuttling back and forth to the tailors, Jeremy and I rented a few motorbikes and zipped around town and then out to the beach. While it was overcast and drizzly most of the time we were there, the bikes were a lot of fun. I think the beach would have been nice too if not for the weather.

This has been my second favorite town so far after Luang Prabang. Very relaxed, peaceful town. I’d like to come back and stay for a while and not just for the tailors.