Suits and Rain in Hoi An

After Hue, Jessica and I traveled to Hoi An, where we quickly morphed into raging consumers. Hoi An is known as the tailor capital of Vietnam. And I made it the Taylor capital as well, considering how much money I contributed to the local economy. Remember how I’m made of money?

Everyone says when you go to Hoi An, you need to get nice clothes made for you. There are stories of people buying nice suits for $20 or so. But I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing. I mean, I already am a paragon of fashion, so why do I need new clothes made for me? I always look like a million bucks (or at least a million dong).

But there are billions of tailor shops in Hoi An, and not a whole lot else to do really except go to the beach, and it was mostly rainy, so Jessica and I figured what the heck, lets go in a couple and see what the deal is. Neither of us really expected to buy much, but before I knew it I had agreed to buy two new suits and two dress shirts. The saleswomen are quite devious.

Plus designing my own suits turned out to be kinda a fun process. Picking out a cut, and what fabrics to use, and what lining, and how I like my lapels, and my pockets. All of these are things I’ve never thought about before but I had to decide on. The sales ladies gave me catalogs to leaf through for ideas, but I didnt really know what I was doing, so they were very helpful in guiding me to what looked good. As was jessica, who had strong opinions about what I look good in.

In the end I opted for a plain black two-button suit, and another made of a black-with-brown-pinstriping fabric I really liked. I could have chosen cheap fabrics and gotten each for about $40, but I figured as long as I’m getting the things made for me I might as well go with nice fabrics, so each ended up coming to like $100. Maybe I got ripped off, I dont know. But that’s still way cheaper than they’d ever be in the US.

And I looked damn good in them. That’s right. Damn good. I dont have any pictures unfortunately, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Jessica got a couple traditional asian-style shirts (I’m probably totally misdescribing them) and a dress thing. And she looked damn good as well.

Getting clothes made specially for you that actually fit really well is addictive! I was planning on only getting one shirt at first, but tried on my first one and it felt so good I ordered another for $10. I always have a hard time finding dress shirts that fit well. I’m a bit of a short-armer I’m afraid. It’s so rare for me to find things that fit right and dont make me look like my mom dressed me. Usually because my mom does dress me.

Anyway I’ll post a picture of my fancy new suit as soon as I get home. For now just imagine that I look somewhat like a cross between this:

and this:

The reason I dont have any pictures is because the suits are all wrapped up in plastic to protect them from the torrential rain we encountered in Hoi An. Those are the two things I’ll remember about Hoi An: suits and rain. Apparently there was a typhoon approaching which caused the deluge. The funny thing was, we were totally unaware that there was a typhoon at all. Nobody mentioned it to us.. we just thought it was really, really, really rainy. Like the streets were completely flooded:

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Only more so.

This is what our bed looked like with all my stuff spread out to dry, after my backpack took a good soaking:

my wet stuff

Imagine Jessica and I, laden with new fancypants clothing which we are trying to keep dry under our ponchos, wading through floodwaters in a typhoon rainstorm. Imagine the pleasant conversations we might have had on our many journeys. This is how I’ll remember Hoi An. We got really lucky too since we flew out of the area a day before the typhoon really hit, canceling all flights and stranding or displacing thousands. And we were blissfully unaware! Sitting on the beach an hour’s flight down the coast in sunny Nha Trang.

Of course Hoi An wasnt all rainy consumerism. We also took a day trip to My Son, a temple complex built by the Champa empire from the 4th to the 13th centuries. I thought it was really a fascinating place. Quite mysterious and beautiful. The Cham were a people who moved to Southeast Asia from Indonesia around the first century BC. They practiced a variety of hinduism heavily influenced by buddhism. Weird huh? I had no idea Southern Vietnam was dominated an indonesian, hindu culture for much of its history. They were finally conquered by the Dai-Viet in the 1400s, but there are still a lot of ethnic Cham in Vietnam today.

They left many temple complexes with really interesting architecture. My Son was their capital, and predates the more famous Angkor Wat by nearly a millennium, so it’s obviously much more worn-down. And of course, much of it was bombed by those bastard Americans in the 60s.

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view my full hoi an and my son flickr sets below:

Hoi An:

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My Son:

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3 Comments!


  1. Andy
    Oct 8th, 2007at4:34 pm

    Hey Taylor. Sounds like the weather is nice… Reminds me of home. I am still reading your travels, and faxing amusing pictures of you around the department. Can’t wait to see the suit. Was it powder blue? I do hope so. Have fun and stay dry!

  2. Andy
    Oct 8th, 2007at4:36 pm

    Oh, and I like the photo viewer at the end of the entry. It was crashing on these stoopid Linux machines last week, but seems to be fine now.

  3. Oct 13th, 2007at4:18 am

    Cool, I’ll keep doing the photo thingy then. When I get back to the US I’ll have to try to find a better plugin though I think.

    Good to know someone at PDI is faxing annoying taylor pictures around for me. My memory must be kept alive!

 

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