I’ve had a great week in Hoi An but I’m ready for more beaches and fun in Mui Ne down south. I leave on a “sleeper” bus tonight. They’re actually pretty comfortable but do I sleep much? Of course not.
Hoi An is known for its legions of tailors who create custom-made clothes really, really quickly. Although my budget has been pretty much blown during my week here, the prices are still a bargain. The women in the stores can be a little aggressive at times. At home, my instinct is to smile at people I pass on the street. Here, that’s met with: “Hello! You buy something?” I’ve had to train myself to not make eye contact, which is strange for me. Even though everyone is out to make a sale, they are actually mostly friendly. Just be careful. If you decide to get something, the next thing you hear is: “One more?”
The shops boast multiple mock-ups of dresses, coats, suits, and more. They’re filled with fabrics that overwhelm you with choice. You can choose a design you see and like it as is or make some amendments. Some people bring in magazine pictures or sketches as inspiration. Others bring in items they already own and want copied in another color. You get measured and the next day or even later the same day, you get a brand new outfit made just for your body.
I probably shouldn’t have packed any clothes for this trip because I easily could have replenished my entire wardrobe here. I was able to resist doing that but I did order a few pieces that will be great for the hot weather I’m encountering in Asia.
Hong Kong and Hanoi were exhilarating. Halong Bay was beautiful but bizarre. Sapa was beautiful yet exhausting. Hoi An marks the first time I’ve been able to relax. Not just on this trip. I’m talking in months.
This town is touristy. It’s full of westerners and the restaurants and shops that cater to
them us. I don’t care. I griped whenever passing through Fisherman’s Wharf at home. I never got Disneyland. Even the Champs-Élysées left me cold. I’m a total tourist in Hoi An and I love it.
I so wish I had the energy to really throw myself into my new surroundings but the fact is: I’m tired. It’s my last day in Hanoi. I had to check out of the hostel this morning but my bus to Hoi An doesn’t leave until 5:30pm. I tried hanging out in the lounge and did some research on one of the computers. When the Internet disconnected, I would have switched to my laptop but the WiFi in the hostel is too spotty. I would have napped on a bean bag but all of them were occupied. I had no choice really but to head out into the humid streets and kill some time.
Oy, two pun headlines in a row. Sorry. It runs in the family.
The day after getting back from Halong Bay, Rachel and Shona headed south to Hue and Lucy and I headed north to Sapa for a trek through rice paddies and homestay booked through the hostel. After a shaky start being chauffeured to the train station with no itinerary or much information at all, Sapa turned out to be exactly what I needed.