Hoi An and backpacks do not get along, especially when it is raining (as it did all three days we were there). The city is quaint and beautifully preserved – pretty much all there is to do is get custom designed and tailored clothes for great prices, and eat. I think you know where this is going.
To be fair, I did need to replace a few items I had been regularly borrowing from Claudia in the two years we lived together and she did need a power interview suit to find her dream job (or a job) for the London Olympics.
After touring through the multiple tailors lining every street, we settled on a few (ok, 5). One in particular proved especially dangerous since we loved everything so much that we kept ordering more. When I saw Claudia’s blazer, I just had to have one, and vice versa when Claudia checked out my new trousers.
Our conversations with the tailors all pretty much went the same way. “Sisters? Twins?! Who older? You so slow! (to Claudia who was 45 minutes behind me, who at this point interjects that she is slightly taller). You have boyfriend? No? (again to Claudia). No worry, hair and makeup and you will find one in no time. (Claudia is now rolling her eyes in the background). You have brother or sister? Are they married?” Without fail, the same questions and same response. They remembered too – when we were leaving, they would yell “no worry, boyfriend soon! You buy more!”
You may have noticed on our tracking page we are attempting to count how often people ask if we are twins. Vietnam is the highest so far by a large number. Most can’t say twin in English, so they just point at us and look at our faces back and forth, or say “same same!”. We nod and smile, and then they chatter excitedly to their friends.
Hoi An has an interesting history as a former port and therefore has both Japanese and Chinese influence on both architecture and food. Local specialties include “cau lau”, a wheat udon-like noodle soup, white rose (shrimp in rice paper) along with other Vietnamese mainstays like spring rolls and fish in banana leaf. Another food item you’ll find all over from Hoi An is “com ga” (chicken and rice), which often times is the only dish a restaurant serves. Interesting concept.
We are very lucky we packed light – our bags are definitely busting at the seams. We are meeting a friend in Bangkok who is heading home to Vancouver and has graciously offered up some space in his bag. The backpack is grateful.