Scroll back a couple of articles and I added a scrapbook of the wardrobe I accrued from my visits to the tailors in Hoi An. The experience had a profound effect on me. So much so I embarked on a project to set up an e-commerce site on behalf of one of the tailors. Sadly, it never got off the ground. Largely in part due to not having someone on ground level that could bridge the communication barrier. Eventually people stop returning my emails and phone calls, much like an embittered ex-girlfriend, hoping I’d just, go away.
The old city has been cleaned up now, filled with fat westerners all looking to haggle the shit out of a counterfeit Gucci bag. We visited a bag shop, narrow, went all the way back. At the back was a kid asleep on the floor, I stepped over her and carried on shopping.
At some point I went for a cookery lesson. The female chef told me all about the women of Vietnam aspire to having 8 pans on heat at the same time. They have to cook not just for their piece of shit husbands, but their no good mates. Card buddies, drinking buddies, karaoke buddies. Imagine that! She spoke the best English by the way, better than any of the travel guides.
The whole place has been given a lick of faded-sun yellow paint. Bach plays out of the tannoy 364 days of the year. On the 365th, an announcement telling everyone to get they’re shit upstairs because the waters coming. The river bursts its banks and the town floods up to a metre, sometimes a couple. The locals have a system of pulleys and wenches that yanks all their worldly goods into the attic. They get about 2-3 hours notice.
I did some farming for ten minutes and was utterly fucked. The conical hat had no foam buffer and was scraping my bald head to shreds. I couldn’t quite figure out what I was doing, only I knew that I couldn’t quit. This was manual labour, this was my wheel house. Only I was on holiday, it was gone noon, and I was sober. So I soon packed up.
If you come to Hoi An, do the cookery lesson. It’s a nice detour. You’ll cycle there and get a picture taken with a water buffalo. I didn’t, fuckers looked dangerous to me but I’m told they’re quite docile. Sorry this a bit rushed, but you get the idea.