Ho’An:Ho’An is a historical town, but needless to say I did not see anything outside of a 3 block radius as I spent 3 mind-numbing days shopping from morning to evening—no joke. Being the frugal shopper that I am, I can’t justify in buying something right away. Instead it takes me AGES, because I go to every store for a price and selection comparison. I’m always trying to get the most of my money by researching all my options before I make a final purchase, that way I get what I want and don’t have regrets on spending the money. In other words, “shopping” before purchasing. This drives some people mad. It drives me insane. On one hand, I like the fact that I am adamant about saving money any way I can. On the other hand, “over-shopping” can be such a waste of time leaving me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. After all, it is just shopping…and I could be spending my time exploring a new city I may never see again. I am currently working on finding a balance to the guy/woman approach to shopping. You know the drill for a guy: enter store…see object…try object on (if even needed)…purchase…exit store and never think about it again. Instead I: enter store…scour entire store to “see” what is available….collect object(s)…try on…get friend’s approval…narrow down selection…try on again…debate over what to actually purchase and either 1) purchase with the possible intent of returning the product or 2) put the item on hold to “think about it” before going back to get it. This process is pure insanity. My mind definitely has more useful things to think about then strategic shopping.
Strategy aside, the actual tailoring experience in Ho’An was quite remarkable. And it was an “experience” in itself. You can have anything you want made. From coats and shirts, to jeans and shoes—you just point at a picture or tell the tailor what you want and within 24-48 hours you are back in the shop for a fitting. I’ve never had anything custom tailored before and it was like being a kid in a candy shop. In other words, to expound on that overused saying, my eyes became big, I salivated at the plentiful options before me and like a child wants to try every piece of candy, I greedily wanted every piece of clothing. The consequence of overeating/overspending are the same, at first you get a sugar/shopping high, then you get a stomachache from over indulgence. Fortunately, thanks to George Bush and his little incentive program, my stomach doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it would have.
Traveller’s tip: Don’t get greedy. Figure out a budget and stick to it otherwise you will be buying clothes like a bulimic girl shovels down junk food. The best value for your money are jackets. I got 4 jackets made–a trench coat, two wool coats and a nice silk jacket all less than $120. For the 2 week travelers, shop away as that is better value than you will ever find at home. For the 2-8 month backpackers, remember $120 is a plane ticket or roughly about 24 nights of hostel accommodation in Southeast Asia….things add up!