Monday, July 20, 2009

From Hue to Hoi An

With the brutal jellyfishing behind us, GirlClumsy and I moved onto Hue (Hway... actually, if you want to pronounce it properly you have to say Hway as if it was a question "Hway?". The upwards inflection at the end is the correct way to say it in vietnamese. Scary tonal languages!)

Hue is the old capital of the Champa kingdom and also of Vietnam in the past. It is biggish city with all the fun and frivolty a big city can provide, but more importantly it still has the walled imperial city at its heart. Our wonderful hostel/resort was in the middle of the imperial city. Oh, how the vietnamese ancestors must be rolling in their burial pots knowing that decadent capitalist westerners trample their ancient soil. Even more exciting we can get into the walled "Forbidden City" of the walled Imperial City. This was where the King and his 500 concubines used to hang out.. it is good to be the king, it seems. Most of the Forbidden City was bombed back to rubble during the "American War" (yep, not the Vietnam War.. but that makes sense here at ground zero) but now is being restored and rebuilt.

When Vietnam went over to communism with Colonel Sanders.. um, i mean Ho Chi Minh (He DOES look like the Colonel.. deny it!) the King stood down peacefully (at first). This means that many of his family still live in Hue. They are considered "small potatoes" in the glorious revolution but they are affluent potatoes.. with heads still attached to shoulders. Hue was the first city to south of the 17th parallel to fall to the north vietnamese after the americans decided to cut their losses and skedaddle.

We went on a fabulous motorcycle ride through the Hue countryside has all the gory details on that little piece of madness.

We then took a slow bus to Hoi An (Hoy Ann). Hoi An has a beautiful old town section with delightful little buildings and many markets pushed into the streets. You can buy everything from dead fish to dead flowers ;) I pointed out to Natalie that all the shops here are very similar. It is all "Dead Chickens and T-Shirts". I think that might sum up Vietnam's shopping entirely.

Fun Fact! Cat (Small Tiger) tastes like rabbit and Dog tastes like goat.. so now you know. Yes, they do eat anything made from meat, excluding people. You better be careful if you order a "small tiger beer". You may just end up with a plate of mysterious meat and a local brew instead of the small can of chinese beer you were after... sinister. The best beer by far here in Vietnam, so far, is Hudas. Oh, the hilarity in hearing the joke "Those are the biggest Hudas I have ever seen". My sides nearly split. (GirlClumsy has a pic with her Hudas showing.. and if you ask her nicely she might just post it!).

Not everything in Hoi An is dead chickens and tshirts. The ancient town is well known for cheap and fast, good quality tailors. The 2km square area has 400 tailors or different costs and quality.
GirlClumsy nearly blew a gasket when she realised she could have anything made from photos or internet pictures, and it would be tailored to fit her measurements. She has been a one woman shopping dynamo terrifying the population with her enthusiasm for shopping and her cheery "You give me another shirt/pants/suit for free because I am a nice person" (it even worked).

I had no interest in this coutre madness but GirlClumsy will not be denied. I was flung into Yali (the number one tailor in Hoi Am, supposedly) with but one mission "Get thee a suit, Mr Wah"

I had to brave the feminine terrors of the tailors. Lovely vietnamese woman ask "What cut do you want? What colour? What fabric?" HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW?! I am a colour blind man built like a belligerent potato and you think i know about fabrics?!

After much cursing, swearing, sobbing and pleading (all from me) I managed to have made a rather natty black suit with purple lining.

Oh yes, I am The Fashion Wah.

GC left me today to my own devices after we came back from seeing the Hindu ruins of My Son (Me Sun). They were very interesting and well worth a visit if you are ever in this part of the world. It is amazing how 70 temples to Shiva and Vishnu can be lost for hundreds of years in the Vietnamese jungles... well, actually it is amazing they dont lose more towns in these jungles. Very Jungly.

GC has been off having more jackets made up and threatened me with the phrase "I am going for a full body treatment at a day spa"... sounds positively filthy!

Anyhoo.. having a marvellous time here in Vietnam. This country has everything. History, food and enough different wars to keep you interested for decades.

Finally, Happy Birthday to my Mater!

and well done to the Americans for putting men on the moon 40 years ago...

Wah.. Out!


Anonymous said...

Purple lining in your suit? Gah, who woulda guessed.

Sounds all rather fabulous!
But how you know what the meat tastes like?

The miles of rice paddies, conical hats, manic scooter drivers and noisy markets relived a melancholy distant memory. Another country, but I can still feel it.

And yeah...Happy birthday to the lovely young lady, L.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Meg!
The flowers are beautiful..
signed Young and lovely Mater.

PS many thanks to TS also

Anonymous said...

Go on, admit it...
The only reason you have the suit is you had to pay the sweet young seamstress for the multiple inside leg measurements
The Ancient Man

Debbie said...

A country that makes suits the Wakh will wear!! Shocked by the power of these people! What's the bet you use it for stage work only.
And who was that crass person that discussed you inside leg measurement. I know you Ancient man. No corrupting my baby Wah!

The Wah said...

The suit is mighty. Modern but with a touch of the old school about it.

Something I will wear when I become the Twelfth Doctor