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Peps and Pete Travels "On pleasure bent again"

Shoppping, Eating and Drinking

VIETNAM | Friday, 29 June 2007 | Views [1142]

Hoi An is a smallish town, about 30km from Danang, that is heritage listed. It is full of cute little streets and gorgeous old buildings, many dating from the 15th Century when Hoi An was a busy trading port. It has a really interesting mix of Japanese, Chinese, French and traditional Vietnamese architechture which makes exploring the streets of the old town a fantastic experience.

Hoi An is also famous for its tailors, and every second shop is a Tailors shop, so of course we had to part with some cash and get a few items made. Shopping at a tailors is amazing, you sit down and are given a catalogue (eg NEXT 2007) to look at, you choose the design you want, the fabric that you like, then you get measured up, return 24 hours later for a fitting and then you com back to fick up said item. I got a 3 peice suit for US$75 while Pete got one for $120. We had heard that you can get a 2 piece suit for $40, but we paid more for better quality fabric. Of course you need new shoes to match your new suit, so off you go to the shoe shop, choose design, colour, heel height and 24 hours later you get a new pair of shoes, or four new pairs...all for the bargain price of US$60!

We had to hire bikes and head out to the beach in an effort to escape our desire to stock up with bargain priced made-to-measure clothes! The ride to the beach was great, we meandered along next to the river, passed rice paddies and at one stage a farmer, sitting jauntily atop his water buffalo, meandering along by the side road.

The beach is 5kms away, and after our hot ride out, the cool waters of the ocean were very refreshing. We paid for a Cabana and loungers, ordered food and drinks and settled in. I love that this experience is so accessible - we could never have afforded a Cabana, let alone the chair, food or drink in Europe!

I have been eagerley anticipating the cooking courses on offer in Hoi An, and I was not dissapointed. For US$15 we were taken on a tour of the market, a herb garden tour, on a boat ride to the cooking school, given lessons and recipies and allowed to eat our creations. We had a fun morning learning how to make, among other things, fresh rice paper and fresh spring rolls as well as trying to carve a lotus flower out of a tomato. It was such a good experience that I am on the look out for another class with different recipies so that I can extend my repertoire.

We've spent a week in Hoi An, and I am yet to feel bored or want to move on. Around every corner it seems that there is something new to look at, buy, eat or drink and just when you feel you've seen all there is to see a new experience presents itself. Last night it was the full moon, and most shops dimmed their lights and set up tables in their entrances - laden with incence, cigarretes and food, all offerings to their ancestors. Hoi An had yet again amazed me.

Tags: Food & eating

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