Sunday, 3 May 2009

Hoi An: Heaven and Hell, 28 April 2009

After a second comfortable night on a sleeper bus I woke up in Hoi An.

I found a dorm room straight away, although it was not what I expected... It was a twin room that they used as a dorm. So when I rocked up at 6am there was one guy already in there asleep and an empty bed. I got straight in the empty bed and had a nap to prepare myself for the day ahead.

By 10am I was out on the streets of Hoi An. I was literally dazed and confused.

If you've not heard of Hoi An before (or didn't watch the Vietnam episode of Top Gear), Hoi An is the place to go for clothes. There are hundreds of tailors, millions of reams of fabric and a whole lotta sewing machinces raring to go.

Every other shop is a tailor and I was lost. How did I know which one to go for. A couple of people had given me recommendations but still, there were loads.

All of a sudden some lady came up to me in the street and asked if I would go to her shop. I wasn't getting anywhwere by wandering aimlessly so I agreed.

I jumped on the back of her pedal bike and she drove me to her shop.

There were two German girls in the shop trying on dresses that they had made. The dresses were beautiful. The girls gave a really nice recommendation for this store. They had bought stuff from a few other shops but they said this was their favourite.

So there I was, sitting down with folders filled with pictures from all the UK glossy magazines. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was given a deck of playing cards to use to bookmark the pages in the folder. There weren't many cards left once i had worked my way through all the folders.

Once I had been through the foledrs I decided to take a break away from the pretty dreesses and concentrate on what I really needed: jeans.

When I left home I only had one pair of jeans left in the world. All my others had disintergrated beyond recognition with holes and rips.

I don't think I have ever had a pair of jeans that fit properly, and here I was being measured up for a new pair of tailor made jeans! Woop! I wanted baggy jeans, in a thin material and in a light colour. Except they only had a dark denim. I found a shade that I liked and went with that. With the jeans settled it was time to head back to the dresses.

The first dress i bookemarked was a lovely little sequinned number. Oh yes, i may be slumming it with a back pack but i still can't resist the lure of sequins.

What happened next was probably a blessing. They didn't have any sequinned material. I was taken to a couple of material stores and there was litterally no sequins to be found! As I say this was probably a blessing, as 75% of the dresses that I had bookmarked contained sequins. This saved me a small fortune.

I was quite restrained, and when I looked at the dresses for a second time I was able to eliminate a fair few.

Inside the folder there was one dress that I really liked, and in the stunning fuschia satin that sat on the shelf it would be beautiful for a wedding. I don't know anyone who is getting married as yet, but hopefully by the time I get home there will be a wedding or some other occasion that the dress will be suitable for.

I only have one dress regret in my life. It was a stuning Stella McCartney dress in TK Maxx. It was origninally priced at 300pounds and was reduced to 100pounds. A few weeks later the price was down to fifty pounds. Out of greed I hoped it would drop further, but when i went back a week later it was gone. It was such a lovely dress.

So with a tailor ready and raring to make anything I wanted and hoards of beautful silk, I made my Stella McCartney Dress.

After three hours in the shop I left. Once every inch of my body had been measured I left the tailor with a description of the jeans I wanted, a picture of a dress cut from a magazine and a wobbly drawing of a dress I saw twice last year, oh and I also handed over the equivalent of forty quid! Ouch!

I needed a sit down. I was actually in a state of shock. What if the clothes didn't turn out how i wanted.? What if the styles i'd chosen didn't suit me? What if I've paid too much? What if? What if? What if?

Just a few hours before I had been in heaven, i could have any clothes i wanted, it's a girls dream! And there I was, in absolute hell with worry. What had I done?

I rented a bike and cycled down to the beach. I needed to escape the town and the tailors who kept tempting me to spend more money.

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