the town of Tailors
10.07.2012 35 °C
So Hoi An, the town of tailors, you would have all seen it and heard of it from the Top Gear Vietnam special, the place famous for making Jeremy Clarkson look like a massive aubergine and proving once again James May is the most English man on TV. The place is funny because like a lot of the places that I have been in Vietnam it is got it normal amount of backpackers and other tourist but it is one of the few places where you can’t really tell, by looking as everyone is so smartly dressed unlike the normal tatty westerners you normally get. This is because everyone –and I mean everyone- buys suits and dresses in this town, so even though it is about 35 °C+ outside you still see people walking around in fine suits and dresses just because they can. You walk into a dorm and instead of being confronted by the normal scene of drying laundry, lonely planet guide books and the sleeping guy (which is a requirement for all hostel dorm rooms) you are confronted with suit bag, tailored shoes and of course laundry, lonely planets and sleeping guy. But even though it doesn’t work in my head it does not look weird as Hoi An. Hoi An is a beautiful town, it is one of the few reminders of the French presence in this country but with a strange twist of the Chinese mixed in, the streets are cobbled and you do feel like you are walking around in a town that has forgot that the 20 century happened and just started with the 21st. It is the sort of place that you feel you should make an effort in like going to Paris or Rome. You walk down the quaint little streets that seem to have not changed a years and then you almost get run over by a scooter or turn the corner and see a mobile phone store and your brought back to the modern day and it just looks wrong. But it is these strange differences that make me like it a little bit more. It has character where you so easily could have lost it.
So that is the town, as for what I got up to is a bit of a different matter, it is one of those quiet towns that is a bit of a void, I am not saying that there is nothing to do, completely the opposite but it has this air around it that makes you feel relaxed and not a get up and go feeling, but that maybe because of the heat! I am not the only victim of it, lots of people like me get there and stop. I walked around and poked around shops and in the evening had a few drinks, I know it is not much to write home about and the makes terrible reading but I can’t understate how nice it is to once in a while find a town where can just stop and you don’t feel bad for it. I did not fall prey when I was there to buying a suit, I wish I had but the amount of weight I have lost already this year and the amount I am planning on losing now, it would be pointless because by the time I get to wear it, it won’t fit me anyway but it does make me feel like I have missed out in a big part of the Vietnam experience so I do have to go back and finish of the experience. It was only on the last day, the day of leaving that I really got back in to the travelling, I booked a tour to the My Son (pronounced Me S-on), a set of ruins of Hindu inspired temples built by the Champas and destroyed by the Americans B-52 bombers because they believed that the Viet-cong where hiding there (they weren’t) and now it’s just a waste land with a story. This was some of the worst hit areas of that war and still has it scares today. It is so easy in this country to forget about how bad their history is and it is a credit to the nation and especially the people that after all they have gone through they still welcome the west with open arms and will do so much for you despite their painful past.
Next stop Nha Trang and the beach!