Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hoi An

Before arriving, we'd heard numerous comparisons between Hoi An and Luang Prabang, which was our favorite place in Laos and, after Hong Kong, the best town we've stayed in on this whole trip. Needless to say, a comparison to Luang Prabang gets us excited. Hoi An was certainly charming, but it was not the quiet and mellow Vietnamese equivalent of our favorite Lao spot. Hoi An is buzzing with tourists and is crammed with tailor shops. After two nights staying in the main tourist center of town, we moved across the river to enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere and nice views. From our new location, we were able to go to our favorite restaurant, the Cargo Club, without being harassed by moto drivers.

One of the main reasons people come to Hoi An is to get tailor-made clothes. We tried to get a few pieces made, but aside from a fabulous coat which I will be wearing daily this winter, most of our pieces came out a little ill-fitting. It took one tailor five fittings to make me a pair of pants that were anywhere close to my size. She took out her frustration by blaming my "big thighs," which led me to three concurrent thoughts:

1) Not true. At 5'0" and 103 lbs, I'm pretty much the tiniest an American adult can be without qualifying for a handicap parking sticker.
2) This is not a good way to make friends.
3) Aren't you supposed to be a tailor...making clothes that fit people's bodies?

Ian's experience wasn't any better (apparently his shoulders are "uneven," making it absolutely impossible to make his sleeves fit correctly), so we were left a little disenchanted.

We did take a nice day trip to the beach, and our Cargo Club croissants and desserts were always on hand to make us happy to be in Hoi An.

Charming riverfront restaurants.

The Japanese Covered Bridge, as seen in some movie with Michael Caine (yay!) and Brendan Fraser (nooo!).

Very pretty little beach near Hoi An.

Sunset on the river.

One of the river's many floating lanterns.

The Vietnamese will carry just about anything on the back of a motorbike.

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