Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 95-99 – Beautiful Hoi An

Hoi An was beautiful.

A sleepy world heritage town it’s effectively the tailor capital of south-east Asia and could be argued to offer the best value-quality ratio for tailored clothing in the world. It feels strange to say something like that and it not just be hyperbole.

A combination of factors ensured that any hope of common sense or practicality was out of the window – I’d been dressed as a scruff too often on our journey so far, I’d taken the tramp look to new lows, and I’d been through China amongst other things. The magnificent Wandering Miltonian Mr Robbie K had sung the praises of Yaly Couture so there was no other option for me. The place has earned a reputation as the finest quality but at a premium relative to the rest of town. In a last-ditch attempt at preventing myself from spending everything I had I’d managed to convince myself to limit the purchase to a single suit and shirt. Sensible right?

Alas, old man logic determined that this therefore meant the suit could be the best the shop could make – Italian Cashmere-Silk mix and more money than most people would drop on a whole wardrobe here. Oh well.

The whole process was exceptionally professional – my dedicated sales assistant was Rose and we walked through the design in detail before she took the many measurements and then invited me back the day after for the first fitting.

That involved a lot of “tighter” and “more fitted” – as well as the realisation that my hair and beard had gone well past endearing and firmly into ridiculous. A local barber pulled out all the stops and after some clipper magic & weird machine massaging I was feeling much more me again.

It was only later that I realised rather than a mechanical head massage I’d actually had my eyebrows trimmed. First time for everything I guess.

The final fitting saw everything fall into place and hopefully by the time I return home I’ll be able to do it justice.

I also made the schoolboy error of commissioning a different tailor to knock together a couple of pairs of cargo shorts. They turned out precisely as you’d expect when you ask a suit-maker to make shorts and I know own 2 pairs of exceptionally dapper shorts for the older gentleman – not the rough and rugged ¾ length cargos I’d been after.

For half the time we were in Hoi An it was bathed in a perfect deep blue sky and blazing sun combo – the ideal accent to the yellow French colonial buildings and lush green fauna smattered around the kooky little streets. It was a real joy to wander around and much more relaxed than anywhere we’ve wandered for a while. A glass of draught beer for less than 10p didn’t do it any harm either…

On the sleeper train down we’d been forced to sleep in two separate cabins due to really low availability. I took the luggage rack ticket and experienced the smallest distance between bed and ceiling yet – elbow to finger tip [I have no ruler, but I reckon there are more spacious coffins]. I did get chatting to a lovely couple from Hungary though.

Fi accidentally half-inched a premium lower bed after a mix up with numbers and met Sam, a lawyer from New Zealand heading into Hoi An for a fresh wardrobe before starting at a new firm. He was stopping off at an earlier spot for a few days prior but we arranged to get in touch when he hit town for a beer.

Such is the size and nature of sleepy Hoi An that we bumped into Sam as soon as he arrived in town and we enjoyed a classy meal at Miss Ly with a rare bottle of red that served to lubricate a wonderful and extensive debate on the pros and cons of the Bell curve. We managed to sink another beer together before we left town and hope to get the opportunity of a repeat performance when we roll into NZ later in the year.