Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

Location: Home, United Kingdom

You all know who I am, I assume.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sartorial elegance, 'nam-style

We're currently in Hoi An, though actually we'll be leaving later tonight for Nha Trang, and the beach. Yay! When we leave, though, we'll have to struggle our extremely full bags on to our shoulders. Why are our bags now so full, having not been so full previously? Because we've got new suits, that's why!

You read correctly. It wasn't a misprint. The three of us have all purchased new suits. And not just any suits, either. Tailor-made suits. Two each. One, a conservative, smart work suit. The other a large-lapelled, flared-trouser gangster suit. By this stage you're either thinking I've gone completely crazy, or that I'm taking the piss. Neither are in fact true. Well, at any rate I'm not taking the piss.

Hoi An is a smallish town in Central Vietnam. It is notable for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Why this is the case is not very clear when you get here. UNESCO World Heritage sites are supposed to be staggeringly beautiful or important historically, and Hoi An doesn't seem to have a lot of lovely architecture or that many great old buildings. It has a few pleasant and quaint temples, old merchant houses, Chinese-style congregation halls and a Japanese covered bridge, but it doesn't have a lot of things of interest, historically or architecturally, as far as I could see. What it does have, are tailors' shops. Lots of them.

When I say lots, I mean lots. We're talking around two hundred. Evey one of which wants you to come in and look every time you walk past. It can get a bit tiresome. However, it is also great. On our first day, having looked in a few such establishments to get the lie of the land, we each decided on our two suit plan, figuring we hadn't done anything particularly crazy for a while, and that if we were buying six suits from somewhere we'd probably be able to get a discount. And so it turned out. We managed to get two lovely-fitting tailored suits each, made from nice material (some sort of Italian silk/polyester mix). The cost? US$28 per suit. That's around fifteen quid a pop. About what you'd pay for an ill-fitting charity shop suit back home.

All of our serious suits are subtley striped dark grey numbers. Our gangster suits are somewhat more flamboyant. Mine is a grey barcode pinstriped number that look slike something from one of Tony Soprano's favourite black and white films, Si's is a stone-coloured number that makes me think of "Chinatown", and Trev's is a delightful black number with fat golden pinstripes. They all have fat jacket lapels, and flares so big that they almost cover my feet. We're going to look quite the part when we get to Nha Trang and go out to beach bars in those suits... To celebrate this achievement, we each came up with new pimp names to go with our gangster outfits. My new moniker is Juan Antonio Fandango, Trev is Mack Jive, and Si shall be known while wearing his as The Pimptacular Mr Fly.

Our plan is to post back the suits when we get to Bangkok, figuring that even with postage and packaging, we'll still have got a real bargain. And to be honest, UNESCO be damned, it's not like there was much else to do in this town...


Post a Comment

<< Home