Vietnam Gallery ~ Hoi An
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Hoi An street
December 7 2001

The old town of Hoi An still maintains a slow pace and relaxed atmosphere, despite the growing competition between the locals for the tourist's dollars. Days easily drifted by simply walking the streets, sampling the excellent food and soaking up the sounds.



The corner alter
December 7 2001

We first noticed the small alters found in every home and shop in Hong Kong and they became more prevalent still in Vietnam. Offering food, drink and incense at the shrine each day will keep the spirits of ancestors and various local deities happy. A neglected spirit will become troublesome and bring bad luck to family or business.


Buddha emerges
December 7 2001

Hoi An has become an extremely popular destination for a number of reasons; the architecture, the food and the tailors among them. But then what would any place worth visiting be without offering tourists a chance to buy local handicrafts that will look out of place when they get it home? Hoi An has a bustling cottage industry in everything from laquerware to wooden carvings and while you may not want to transport this particular statue across the world for your mantle, perhaps a carved bamboo wall hanging will be incongruous enough.


Raw material
December 8 2001

Almost everyone who arrives in Hoi An seems to leave with suitcases full of tailored clothing. It is such good value for money that the local post office does a bustling trade simply from all the boxes of clothes being sent home. At any of the ubiquitous tailor shops in Hoi An, having one's measurements taken is easy. Picking a pattern from a catalogue is a little more difficult. Choosing the color and fabric from which to have the garment made in is nigh on impossible. As the tailors will try to tell you, it is best not to choose and simply to have a shirt of every color that appeals.


+ Labor
December 8 2001

The engine that drives Hoi An's most popular past time - having clothes custom made to fit our huge girth and height. At least by Vietnamese standards.




= The outseam
December 8 2001

It is so cheap to have clothes that actually fit, that things can get a little out of hand. I knew things were getting ridiculous when I found myself being fitted for custom-made shorts. I knew they had reached levels of absurdity when I had trouble choosing between the shiny blue silk or the olive green linen.


A finished product
December 8 2001

Julie models her new traveling attire hot from the fingers of her tailor.

Silk Lanterns
December 9 2001

The cloth is not just used for clothes.





A Hoi An house
December 8 2001

Hoi An first grew as a trading port centuries ago and what was true then is true now : in Asia much of the commercial sector is controlled by Chinese immigrants. In fact so many live in Hoi An that Jiang Zemin came here when on a state visit from China. A little like when Kohl went to Wisconsin, I suppose.
A great deal of the famed architecture here is Chinese and in a surprising state of preservation considering the kind of damage visited upon almost every other town during the war (Hue is not far away). It makes a refreshing change to see Asian style buildings here in the heart of Asia. After all, so much is now modern western or old colonial.


The pharmacy
December 9 2001

Good for what ails you - snake wines and powdered vines at the Hoi An corner chemist

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