27.05.2014 - 27.05.2014
Having been dropped off in Hoi An old town by the hotel shuttle bus I wasn't sure what to make of the place. It would be three hours until the bus comes to pick me up and the town looks pretty small. Countless numbers of tailors, art galleries and souvenir shops line the streets but they don't really appeal to me. I know it's common practice to come to Hoi An and get a made to measure suit or dress made at a ridiculously low cost but I really don't want to have to lug a suit around the rest of the world with me for the next 10 months and I'm not really in the right frame of mind to get a new dress either.
I started to worry how I would fill the time on my own - Sara had decided to spend the day lazing by the hotel pool for the second day running so I was on my own. If Sara were here I would have enjoyed wandering through the streets with her, stopping in one of the numerous cafes for a drink and lazily looking in the shops (well Sara would look in all the shops, she would love all the fabric here and would have spent hours looking at them - actually perhaps its best she isn't with me, I'd be getting dragged into clothing stores until my eyes started to bleed).
After half an hour of strolling through the streets my fears started to subside. Although Hoi An is chockablock with tailors' shops that I'm not interested in, the place has something I haven't come across in all the towns and cities encountered on our travels so far - charm. It creeps up slowly but the place really begins to grow on you, and after spending a good amount of time here its abundance of charm envelopes you and you start to understand the magic of the place.
It's enhanced by the peace and quiet of the place (by Vietnamese standards). There aren't thousands of mopeds threatening to run you over on every street as the roads are fairly empty. Even the shop owners seem less keen to harass you into their store. Having said that, one woman followed me halfway down the street in an attempt to get me into her shop, talking at me all the way.
"Hello, hello. You very handsome. Where you from? London? Me too. You come in my shop, buy suit."
Now I can agree with her calling me handsome but I have to seriously question whether this short, middle-aged Vietnamese woman with stilted English was genuinely from London, so I continued to pass by until she stopped following.
The longer I stay in Hoi An old town the more I love the area. I'd like to say this is purely down to the charm of the place however I think I'm also being influenced by the riverside cafe I'm currently sitting in as I compose this blog. The beer here costs 4,000 VND (around 11 pence) and I'm now on my third. I think I should end this blog before their eight hour happy hour turns into passing out hour.