We saw this bowl of snails on our morning walk through the
Our hotel, the Almanity, was extremely elegant, and had excellent food and excellent facilities, including a delightful pool. I now wish that I had taken a picture of the breakfast buffet, but I think that I must have decided that I would leave all food photography to Mark.
From my journal: «Our room is huge, the bed a king-size, first time I’ve slept in a king bed for quite some time (insert pun here). It sits on a two-step platform, not a wise design for an eighty-year-old geezer. When I got up during the night, I was very careful negotiating the steos.
«Breakfast this morning in the hotel, a very varied buffet. I even had sushi, of which I took four pieces.
«Then three special activities: the first was to take the laundry around the corner to a local family that does hand-washing. They charge by the kilogram, and it’s about 1/10 the cost of having it done by the hotel. As I’m writing this, though, I don’t know the results.» (In fact, the results were excellent.) The two square pictures to the right give some idea of the clutter of the establishment and its integration with family life.
The whole town of Hoi An seems to be known for its quick-jiffy tailors, who will do you up a suit in no time flat. The establishment we went to was highly recommended by Hung: it’s named Yaly Couture. At this point, my journal picks up the account:
The next special activity was a visit to a tailor. I wanted to try out the idea of a bespoke shirt, since I have been looking for the ideal cut, and especially, ideal fabric. I found a nice relatively heavy cotton fabric of a pleasing pale yellow color, and was horrified to see that the cost of one shirt would be $85. I had in fact been planning to order two, till I found the price of one. Evidently the fairly heavy cotton fabric was one of their premiun materials.
«The measuring of my torso was very extensive, and to make sure, they took four snapshots of me standing before a meter-marked wall: front, right, rear, left. Mark ordered a summer-weight blazer for $180, and was measured in even greater detail, which you can read about.»
For some reason, I took no pictures at Yaly Couture; all I have that begins to show the tailoring in Hoi An is the shot to the left of an open-air shop on the street, as we walked to Yaly. But Yaly was huge by comparison, elegantly appointed, and extended to two stories.
After that, a trip that is completely unmentioned in my journal, we went to an establishment where silkworms were being raised, the silk fibers were being stripped from the cocoons, and some fabric was being woven. In the first picture to the left, you see a tray of mulberry leaves with the silkworms dining on them. This is one time I was sorry I didn’t have my big camera with me, with its capability of doing extreme closeups shots. In the second picture, the silk fibers are being unwound from the coccoons and onto the square structure on the left of the machine. Third picture, Gwen tries her hand at the loom.
My journal continues: «From there, we walked through the town of Hoi An into the countryside, past rice-paddies, shrimp ponds, and fields devoted to truck-farming.» Little further description there, but I took loads and loads of pictures, arrayed below. The picture to the left was taken at about 10:00 a.m., as we were walking through town.
Spectacular vegetation here and
(big image, small).
Typically narrow house here in
Viet Nam (big image, small).
|We begin our walk into farmland: left thumbnail, big image, small; right, big image, small.||Big image, small.|
|Another view (big image, small).||Morning glory (Big image, small).||Papayas (big image, small).||Hibiscus (big image, small).|
|Ducklings or Walkers? (Big image, small.)||Big load (big image, small).||Rice paddy with herons (big image, small).||
(big image, small).
|Big image, small.||Grave markers (big image, small).||Big image, small.||Big image, small.|
We continued through the heavily-cultivated landscape. A number of the farms had many narrow plots planted to small vegetables, clearly being raised for the market.
In the pictures to the left, I like the contrast between the two residences in the left column. My historical imagination suggests to me that the upper one is from the colonial period before World War II, and that the lower one was built much more recently, perhaps even by the small-holder farmer who’s living in it now. I asked Mark whether he knew what the fruit was at the bottom of that column, and he protested ignorance. I don’t think it’s a pomelo, but who am I to say?
The pink egg-masses were everywhere as we were walking alongside the rice paddies. It certainly seems to be an efficient way for the snails to keep their eggs away from any fish that might be swimming there. And I can’t look at that papaya tree without thinking of the famous Artemis of Ephesus. I didn’t realize it till I read the article I’ve linked to, but there are versions of the statue found all over the lands of the Roman Empire.
We continued through the countryside, and crossed paths with a farmer and his water buffalo, eminently photographable both of them. I didn’t realize till I was going through these pictures what a fine portrait of the buffalo I had managed to get. Just ignore his buddy’s feet, please.
I don’t believe I had ever seen a water buffalo before, not even in a zoo, so the numbers of these big guys impressed and interested me. And I do also like the picture of our farmer walking away from us with his beast, bottom left in the block to the right.
My journal is lamentably sketchy in describing this part of the day, just says, «[the walk] took us about three hours, Mark tells me. We stopped for beer and other drinks at a little place where farm fields gave way to town, and then walked a short distance to our bus, which took us back to the Almanaty.»
Journal then gets more detailed: «Mark and I took our time showering, and got down to lunch [in the hotel] a little after 1:00, and were leisurely about that, too. He had a soup with noodles and vegetables, I had very nice pan-sauteed baby shrimp, plus rice.
«After eating, we went back upstairs and changed into swimming togs, to take advantage of the elegant pool. (What at this place is not elegant?) And there we lay for a while on a pair of parallel chaises longues. The swimming, when we got to it, was good, the chaises fairly uncomfortable, even though Mark seemed to sleep a little bit.»
The journal continues: «Before supper, we stopped at the tailors’ again, to check the fit of the clothes that had been sewn for us during the day. My sshirt looked very fine, needed nothing done to it. Mark needed several adjustments to his jacket; and while there this time, he found a shirt design that he liked, and ordered three in various colors. They would make one of them up and come to our restaurant ( ! ) for it to be fitted to him.
«We paid, our payment to include air freight to Saint Paul, and finally were on our way to the restaurant by foot. The restaurant was the extremely elegant [again, that word] Brother’s Café. We waited inordinately long for water and our wine to be served, but once the food started coming, it was fast enough. Separate serving dishes with baby bok choi, prawns, beef, and pork. [Mark’s page has the precise menu.] We sat with Barb and John, and made good conversation, not all of it on the recent election results.
«After Mark got refitted for his shirt purchase, we got back onto our bus to the hotel.
«Our appointment for massage was for 9:15, so we had time for packing, which we pretty much finished before that. The experience was most pleasant, but involved an oil that needed to be washed away before bed.»
And so finished our big day in Hoi An. Tomorrow, it would be a flight to Luang Prabang, and the beginning of our short stay in Laos. Go to next day’s page to find out about that.