who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

the happiness of hoi an

hoa arranged for a taxi (his brother took us in his beat up skadonk) to our next stop along the coast, hoi an. this was by far our favorite place in the whole of 'nam.

it's hard to pin point the best thing about this place... i guess because there is just so much to love:
filled with the french charm of an era long since passed, the town has retained all of it's (remaining unbombed) exquisite architecture - whilst still progressing into the 21st century.

one thing we've noticed about south east asia is that wherever you go there are certain things that are synonymous with each place.
you cannot miss them, they will find you.
you cannot escape them because were it not for their existence the town would cease to exist.

for hoi an it's tailors.

i'm not exaggerating when i say that the vast majority of the traders are tailors. they line the streets packed shoulder to shoulder, each spilling onto the pavements with an exhibition of the most exquisite silk dresses, three-piece suits, gorgeous winter coats (worth a look despite the relentless heat) and leather boots and bags in every style and colour.

for a westerner it is shopping heaven.
for any shoestring budget backpacker, however, it is a never-ending torture trip.

there was one dress in particular that kept haunting me, whispering sentiments of bad influence and poor judgement in my ears. I had to have it and were it not for the constant support and guidance of my Fathead, i would.

as a compromise, we decided that we had to at least experience having a garment tailored, so the boy was measured up for two pairs of boardies and I for two small summer dresses. not quite the oscar-red-carpet-show-stopper silk number, i'll admit - but having it done was a super cool experience.
apart from the estimated 500 tailors in the small town, hoi an's charm can be largely attributed to the dinky river that runs through it. by day fisherman go about their family trade, by night the water provides the most picturesque setting for the bar and restaurant strip. with every balcony aglow with paper lanterns, the river reflections at night turn this part of town into the most romantic setting ever.
eiffel tower se moer.

we were to meet up with our friends from hoa's place for dinner on the first night. this also happened to be the night of the SWC final between spain and holland.

while my heart was gunning for Spain, we'd become mates with a loopy dutch couple (who had provided us with hours of entertainment), so agreed to gather for dinner and watch the game from a dutch-perspective, with them instead.

it was 1am by the time the match started.
we were drunk, lost and looking for somewhere with a big screen.
somehow i'd met a group of drunk, lost randoms and been coaxed into having our faces painted orange. then the randoms informed us of a big screen on the beach. so there we went, and shortly thereafter, there we all slept through the first half of the final.

i never saw the actual final but watched the highlights (in the silence of our speaker-less tv) the following morning. i gathered the result, seeing as all the red people looked stoked and all the orange okes, quite bummed. we consoled the dutch duo over breakfast and then began our day.

Fathead made me rent a bicycle (which I have only just learnt to ride, "shocking" - I know - I blame my parents).

he then tricked me by taking a leisurely peddle along the quite and scenic river. to throw off my senses even more, he took me for a peaceful lunch overlooking the water. then, when my guard was sufficiently down, lead me down a back street which spat my gearless, chainless, brakeless mobile out into a throbbing artery of extreme rush hour traffic.

so traumatic was the experience that i've had to file most of the memories into a cabinet hidden deep in the recesses of my brain. i can recall my yelps of pure terror, polite honks of a thousand horns swerving to miss me, sweat pouring down my panicked, furrowed brow and an exchange of words - most of them mine, all of them too impolite to repeat here.

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