04.12.2010 - 06.12.2010 27 °C
We woke up in Hoi An and took our time over getting out of bed. We felt we deserved it! The girl that had told us to come to her Uncle's hotel the night before had also recommended her clothes shop to us so we decided to head over there to see what they had to offer. When we arrived we were shown the dresses they tailor make and several English clothes catalogues. "You chose, we make," they said....
We were measured, fitted, coloured and walked out with a new dress, some trousers and a suit with a rather swanky waistcoat and were booked in for a 5pm fitting. We left 'Su's' and had a coffee which sent John buzzing for the rest of the day. Vietnamese coffee is amazingly tasty but very strong! We walked around Hoi An some more afterwards and found ourselves in another shop where Susie bought a new red and white spotty jump suit. Very kitsch! Then we walked some more.....we seemed to do an awful lot of walking in Hoi An, but the streets just beg you to. As it's a world heritage town, all the buildings have received funding to be renovated. Also many of the streets are sort of pedestrianised (though nowhere in Vietnam is truly safe from motos!) which makes it much safer to walk about than anywhere else we've been!
After a wander we used the first ticket from out Hoi An visitor ticket, which allows you to visit 5 attractions over 3 days, and in theory permits you to actually enter the old town, though noone seemed to be checking entry points anywhere, and to be honest I don't know how they ever could! Our first choice was a small museum about Hoi An's history. Although it contained one or two old photographs, and a rather nice old map of indochina from the 19th century, the museum itself didn't have alot to show. Ah well, back to the shops we headed! A pair of leather shoes and a coat followed. Sigh. Hard life. As it was approaching 5pm we returned to Su's for our first fitting. Everything was pretty much in order and Susie left with another dress on order.
Day two was our 3 year anniversary so we decided to go out for a nice dinner in the evening. First off we had some more shops and attractions to visit though. To begin with we headed to a temple which was unremarkable, aside from the small carved giraffes which adorned their entrance, random even for Vietnam! Next we headed to a restaurant Susie had found in the guide book which was on an island across from to the majority of Hoi An. It was called the lighthouse and was run by a Dutch man and his Vietnamese wife. The setting was beautiful and sitting on the 3rd floor with Vietnamese wine, looking out on the town, we certainly felt that this was the life! We had a few more fittings after this and had probably our best indian yet for lunch! In the afternoon we headed to a cultural performance of music and drama which was surprisingly entertaining.
More shopping. Then, in the evening we found a rather tucked away restaurant down a back alley. In reality, there was nothing back alley about the "Secret Garden" and we had an absolutely delicious dinner, despite being told by our waitress (who wasn't in any sort of uniform, we assume that she did work there) we were eating most of our dishes incorrectly! Fortunately she corrected us, though rolling up a Vietnamese dumpling in a lettuce leaf, with chili, and dipping it into a sauce, and managing to put in into our mouths without spilling any, was a little beyond both of us! That said it really was delicious and the live music added to the evening (though it took Susie far too long to realise it was actually live!)
The next day we headed to the oldest original house in Hoi An. After being told, with no arguments, where we should sit to listen to the tour we were told about the Japanese and Chinese influences of the house and also that it had been in the same family for 7 generations. We were also shown the level where the waters flooded to in the rainy season, over 1.5m, during which time they move all the furniture upstairs. We also saw some beautiful wooden panels with chinese characters carved in mother of pearl. Even more amazing was that the characters were made up of tiny models of birds!
After the house we visited the "Japanese covered bridge," one of the most famous landmarks in Hoi An, but to us, pretty unremarkable. I mean, the name kinda describes it.
Next on the tour was another original house, which was essentially identical to the first one, perhaps unsurprising given they were only built 20 years apart, but a little disappointing. With 4 hours to go until our bus, Susie's insistance that John should get a lumberjack shirt finally reached a head and it was added the the pile. More impressive than the tenacity of the credit line (thanks again Mum) was the fact that the shirt only took 2.5 hours from it's first try on to being completely made to measure and finished! Hoi An certainly don't want to stop you parting with your cash! 5pm eventually came and our time in Hoi An was at an end. Phew!
Our tally was therefore one 3 piece suit, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 shirts, 2 dresses, a jump suit, 2 coats, one pair of trousers, some plates and some other things.......which cost.....ENOUGH!