hoi an - magical land of tailors and lanterns

tonight we leave hoi an for saigon, aka ho chi minh city, the biggest city in vietnam. our time here was fantastic, even though we both suffered a bout of homesickness upon arrival for some reason. nothing a little retail therapy couldnt solve though... hoi an is known for its tailors, as well as its chinese lanterns, and finally for its old buildings. it was one of the few cities that escaped the last century's wars intact.

despite being a serious tourist town (or maybe b/c of it), prices here are super reasonable. this is a view of our hotel pool from our balcony door, which we can exit poolside. we got a big double room with AC, satellite TV, tastefully appointed and with an exquisite bathroom and shower for $15/night! we could have gotten away with much cheaper, but we decided we needed the pool when we were soaked in sweat after walking in hoi an for 5 minutes.
a good meal can be had for a buck, and a cold draft beer costs ~25 cents!

we rented bikes at a mean 70 cents/day and explored the countryside and the city. the beach is a nice flat 3 km pedal away. hoi an had a really nice feel, which we likened to lamu, kenya. maybe it is the friendly people, maybe all the flowers, i am not sure, but kylie and i felt very comfortable here. the field in the left of the above picture is actually a pond that is being used to farm something that i dont recognize.

yes shelley, we have found the tailors! getting clothes made to fit is actually a little addictive. kylie went on a bit of a spending spree and even i got in on tailee action. b/t 2 different shops kylie managed to get 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 shirts and 1 jacket! she would have gone even further if she didnt have to carry it all on her back. i got 2 corduroy jackets and 2 shirts made. those of you who know me (or maybe even if you just look at our blog pictures) know that i dont particularly care about clothes, but even i am excited about my slick new jackets.

this is Ha, who made one of the jackets and most of the shirts and skirts. you cant see it in this picture, but i got a little dragon embroidered on the right cuff. i love it!

we also rented a motorbike again for a day. they are also super cheap (~$3 for an afternoon, or $5 for the whole day) and a great way to get around. unfortunately our camera has now almost completely died. the last good picture it took was kylie in the pool above. after that the screen went blank and we couldnt check the pictures, so they went a bit green and overexposed (again see above). i had hoped that was all, and used the computer to make sure the settings were right, but now it wont zoom or focus either! the above picture shows a beautiful old cemetary beside a pond with waterbuffalo feeding underwater like hippos, all bathed in the honeyed light of a tropical sunset.

here is one of the dirt paths we explored on the motorbike. there may or may not be a cow on the left.

at one point, hundreds of tiny ducks blocked our path and we had to herd them back into their pond and off the path so we didnt squish them.

our camera is under warranty, but unfortunately there is no futureshop in hoi an. oh well, we are heading to saigon, so a new camera should not be hard to find. this one has seen many adventures through africa, the middle east and europe, as well as all of our many hikes in chilliwack and the fraser valley, so we cant complain... i only hope that futureshop doesnt hassle us too much when we get back. i will accept equivalent value in store credit: wii fit here we come!


shareen said...

I love your blurry pictures, I feel like I'm supposed to let my eyes go out of focus and something will pop out at me...I was never very good at those things.

Shelley said...

i like the blurry pics, too! so artistic!