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Published: June 17th 2007
Having got some ideas from wandering the shops with Anja we set ourselves a budget of 100 pounds each to buy whatever we wanted. Without this budget in mind it would be so easy to spend a fortune - you can have anything you want made here, choose from models in the shop or pictures from a magazine/catalogue, select a fabric and its yours! Cheap but made to measure in less than 24 hours - amazing.
A couple of hours and many measurements later (including one where a lady chased us down the steet on a moto with a tape measure to get that all important extra measurement from Chrissie!) Chrissie had notched up 4 dresses, 3 pairs of trousers, a jacket, 2 coats and 2 tops (from 6 different tailors) and Mark had 2 suits, 4 shirts and a winter coat (from 1) and we only went slightly over our budget! Everyone you meet who has been says they have done the same but by differing amounts!
The tailors here are absolutely lovely and very funny - it was such a fun experience and shopping that even Mark enjoyed! Halfway through the day we
went for a well earned cold drink where we met a lovely lady from Melbourne, Marita, who was over in Vietnam (at her usual tailors) putting in a hefty order for work clothes which she does every two years or so. After a couple of drinks we got on like a house on fire and she took us to see My Phoung her famous tailor who was amazing and who Chrissie ordered her final things from. Then, she invited the three of us over to dinner at her house the following night - so kind!
The rest of the day was spent attending fittings for our clothes and having a couple of farewell beers with Anja who would be setting off for Nha Trang the following day and who we would no longer be catching up with due to our different timescales for Vietnam.
We spent the morning at fittings and collecting some of our clothes - all of which we were very pleased with. We met up with Anja and Marita for a spot of lunch in Treats Cafe our usual meeting place and then spent the afternoon with Anja before seeing her off
on the bus. We have had so much fun travelling with Anja over the past few weeks and will miss her. See you soon babs!
We then went over to My Phuong for Chrissie's last fittings before being moto-d over to her house for the evening. My Phuong had prepared an amazing feast for us which even Mark couldn't put a dent in no matter how hard he tried! She plied us with food and beer all evening and we were overwhelmed with the generosity of a person we had barely met, she also refused any attmepts we made at thanking her with drinks or flowers for her hospitality.
After dinner we were to see another side of My Phuong's character - she loves singing! So much so that she has converted two of her upstairs rooms into kareoke suites which she hopes to open for business soon. We were amazed and soon settled in for a fantastic evening of music and hilarity. Chrissie and Marita dedicated a wonderful version of Material Girl to My Phuong and, surreally, My Phuong's daughter sang We wish you a Merry Chrstmas! We had so much fun and this will be an
evening we'll remember for a long time.
We packed up our bags and collected the last of our clothes before packaging up a box to post home with all our new kit.
Next we headed across town for the cooking course that we had booked with the Red Bridge restaurant. We met our group and then had a tour of the local market where it was bank holiday and therfore quieter than usual. We were introduced to all of the vegetables we'd be cooking with in the lesson, they seemed pleased to meet us. This was followed by a boat trip down the river to transport us to the restaurant and cooking school.
On arrival we had a tour of the restaurant's herb garden before being shown to our classroom, an open room right on the riverbank - beautiful. Over the next couple of hours we were taught to cook a number of different Vietnamese dishes and were able to have a go at cooking them oursleves. This was really fab and a much more professioanl set-up than the cooking course we'd done in Yangshuo. After all our hard work we settled into the
restaurant to enjoy the meal - delicious!
On return to town we took a couple from the course to My Phuong as they'd asked us to recommend a tailor amd who else would we send them to?! We met Marita there packaging up her things and My Phuong gave us a gift of some local tea and coffee, astounding us again with her continued generosity.
We had a final drink with Marita before picking up our stuff and boarding the much dreaded second night bus to Nha Trang. Thankfully this was a little less busy than the last night bus so we were able to get a seat each allowing more options for positions and therefore a slightly better night's sleep this time.
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