In Hoian... 01/10/2010
 
Today we are changing hotels, going to the beach and picking up our custom made clothes...

The day before yeserday we arrived in Hoian and were very pleased with what we found. Hoian is a chilled touristy yet absoluteley beautiful city. Full of old french buildings on the waterfront, cobbled alleys and hundreds of tailors and shoemakers. The first day was spent walking round soaking up the relaxed and laid back atmosphere, sleeping and drinking juice. We were pretty tired from our four hour car trip and really just wanted to eat and sleep. WE found a restaurant near our hotel which was amazing. Mum absoluteley died because it was so nice. It was a really old mouldy building with loveley shutters and mossy green walls cracking plaster but it was filled wiith old and new asian and european furniture which just made the whole thing very elegant. And the food was delicious.

Yesterday was also VERY lazy and was a girls day. We said goodbye to Dad and Cian and went to town to see the tailor. At first it was a bit awkward because we were in this big room full of mannequins and lovely fabrics and a bag full of drawings and ideas and were thinking.... "How do we start? What do we say?" But I finally made Maeve start because she is the bravest. Maeve got has ordered a party dress (designed by me) and a cropped jacket (designed by me) It was so fun walking around with the fiendly ladies talking about cut and fi and choosing fabrics for lining, jacket dress. After I had built up some confidence I pulled out some red and white stripy fabric that I wanted to be made into a swiming costume with crossed frill back and pockets in the front. I was a litte nervous that they couldn't make swimming costumes but she gave a quick glance at my drawings and closeley inspected the fabric before reassuring me that this was fine. Also on the list was a gold jumpsuit and a few pairs of pants for Mummy. We got measured up and agreed on a price before saying goodbye. The most astonishing thing was when they told us it would ALL be ready tomorrow at 4:00pm!!!!
I couldn't believe they could make all that in such a small amount of time...


Next we had a drink before heading out in search of some school shoes. I am a bit more nervous at how the school shoes will turn out and if they will be school earable, but hopefully all wil be well. After a drink a nice lady asked f we woud like a manicure; and infact I did want a manicure as a little reward for my long nails! So I left Mum and Maeve and followed this lady through the bustling markets, down a small alley and into her dark salon. It was my first ever manicure and it was very nice, I left with my nails all spiffy and pale pink with white tips and white flowers on my thumbnail.

Yesterday was great and hopefully today will be too, I can't believe our travels are coming to an end it makes me very sad but I am excited to be home....
 
 
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First thing, Do you like the new look?

The colour scheme is inspired by Vietnams strong use of the plant indigo and the colourful peoples. Most of the clothes and fabrics here are dyed to a dark dark blue called Indigo...Even the rice!!!!

Today while walking through a market which was wobbling over a cliff in the mountains and looking at colourful women in traditional dress (as seen on front page) we ate rice wrapped in banana leaves dyed indigo!!!
It was very yummy and pretty to eat, as was our day. And if you havent already guessed, that title image is the indigo rice. So today after a wonderful trip to the market we hopped on a long roofed long boat and sailed down the river and enjoyed the tall mountains around us and the beautiful scenery. It was all very pleasant and now after a hot shower I am typing all about it on the blog for you to read. I got one of the skirts you may see in the pictures which is very pretty.

So we are having a bit of a rest now after a pretty busy day, hope to post soon,

Niamh

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Safe to say I am not a frugal kind of person. And I thought it was time I dedicated a post to Shopping!
So I will now list all the items i've bought with a little description...Don't read this post if you're not really the materialist type...

-Handpeaded collar from Borneo- This is a really beautiful thing i got in Borneo and is made with lots of colourful beads and some pom poms. It is also the most expensive thing I bought...

-Brown paper parasol- it is brown paper which is waxed and painted with dragons and is perfect for substituting a hat.

-Crazy asian Makeup- This is actually something maeve bought but i paid 15 percent so i have unlimited access to using it (he he he...) There is everything from Gold maascara to multi coloured eyeliner.

-malaysian shadowpuppets- These two cute puppets made of paper.

-Vintage cardigan (with gold beading) From harajuku- I got this on my first visit to Harajuku in a liittle cool vintage shop and it was really busy inside because it was a public holiday.

-Pink checked coat, same day same place- i LOVE HARAJUKU!!!!!!

-1950's vintage skirt from a little festival that was going on in a rural village of japan we visited

-Japanese yukata- A light summer bth robe for wearing around the house. You know those pictures of me in the kimono looking thing? thats a Yukata!

-Frilly tutu shorts- From Harajuku....frilly white and looking like a tutu... EXCEPT ITS A PAIR OF SHORTS!!!!!

-Printed floral stockings- did I mention how much I love harajuku? I have always dreamed of finding stocking covered in roses!
-Different bits and bobs from Hiromi sato a couple of post cards, a calender all bought from this amazing shop which specialized in Blythe Dolls.

-Pretty cream fur gloves- From a 4km shopping street which was basically the spine of Osaka. All the shops sold clothes or interesting accessories.

-Fur pink oversized bow headband- From the same street and slightly lady gaga ish. Its so pretty! I won't tell you how much though....

-Glass spherical pocketwatch. Yes my collection is growing and this is one amazing pocketwatch which i got in Shanghai from Dong Tai Lu Antique market. It is very ubnlikeley however that it is actually antique. infact I am almost positive that it is reproduction.

-Circular lensed gold rimmed "antique glasses"- These are also probably not antique but they are so unusual and fashion forward i just had to!!!

-white leather oxford style half boots- We got these in a big warehouse of a market which was mainly all knock offs, but these I thought wer really nice.

-cricket cage- for those of you who know the movie "Mulan" you will remeber her little cricket friend who her grandmother gives her because he is a very lcky cricket. Well this is the cage he live in, Its like a birdcage (pretty cane asian style) but smaller. We got this in a pet market so they thought it very strange when i didn't want a pet cricket to go in it....

-The bed throw I bought today which is all orange and embroidered. Bought fom the local village market.

So now I am done being artificial. Sorry about my materialistic post but I like clothes and I like stuff....

I also like shopping.
 
 
First of all,
To those who are involved; Have a wonderful Speech Night (HA!!!) and a really fantastic picnic day!!!

I wish I could be there...

Then again I am having a wonderful time in the mountains of Vietnam...
This morning we arrived in Sapa, The famous mountain village of Vietnam really early on an overnight train, We had to take a long taxi to our hotel but it was all worth it for the views and the beautiful indigenous tribes. After checking into a room with some really stunning views, we had a rice noodle breakfast before heading to the village markets. Sapa is pretty touristy and they sell alot of touristy souvenirs in the market but among the junk there are some really beautiful peices which are traditional to these people and there tribes. All the women here wear gorgeaus patchworky skirts with dozens of pleats through them with embroidered long tunics over the top dyed with the indigo leaves that are harvested in the mountains. Its a little chilly here but its mainly just foggy from being so high up....So as we entered the market dad says: Guys we're here for 4 days so look around, don't buy the first thing you see you like, on the last day we can go get all the things we liked best.

3-4 hours later we trudged through the door -tired from our long hike into a village located in the valley- with three bags full of indigo stuff. Cian was the first to break the vow with a little coin he bought that had a Pig on it...He loves to buy the funniest things. Then admittedly I bought a really gorgeaous blanket for my bed. Anyway you know how it goes, a funky little hat later (that you'll never wear) and you seem to have bougfht something from everyone in town. After Cian had a streetside haircut in a little alleyway (which was actually very good) we decided to check out a little tribes village which was located in the valley underneath the mountain where we were later. getting down was fine, and the little village was very interesting, but getting up was a different story. We spent a good long while climbing back up that  mountain......

sigh.

Anyway, today has been a great start to our little Sappa adventure and I'm sure we are going to have a fantastic time..
 
 
Often the most interesting things are best watched and not performed. This is most likeley the case in the curious food zoo of Beijing. THis is where we ate last night. Live scorpions crawling in the air on the end of skewers, silk worms barbecued, black hairy turantulars, sheep penis, sheep testicles and snake were all on the menu and all on skewers. Rows and rows of stalls selling skewerd EVERYTHING lined the streets. Unfortunateley, although it was amazing to watch, eating the selection there proved less enjoyable. Stall keepers tried to rip off any westener who passed and all the (normal)  meat skewers were undercooked and mediocre. But watching Cian eat a silkworm satay and chicken heart was worth all the dissapointing food!!!

The grossest part was that he loved both silk worm and chicken heart.....
Ick. The day started marvelously with a traditional breakfast of dumplings and rice milk with fried churros style sticks for dipping. We spent the morning walking around the beuatiful lake Hui Ha Ha. Its actually name was  Huiha but dad pronounced it funny and it was hilarious. For lunch we shared an anorexic duck on the lakes edge while we watched live ducks swim by. And then toTHE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN which was great.

Beijing is proving to be wonderful....And  curious
 
 
Yesterday started with a big sleep in and aimlessly wondering around the hotel, lots of green tea and relaxation. After our huge day the day before (12 hours of non-stop walking) we really needed a rest.

until....

Niamh went shopping!!!!!!!!!!

After a fair bit of pestering, Dad finally agreed to take me to Hiromi Sato`s gallery.We stopped off at Harajuku on the way which we`ve been to before but I really wanted to visit before we left Tokyo. Dad grumbled and frowned as I wondered from shop to shop grinning from ear to ear. In the end I left harajuku with a pair of very harajuku shorts coverred in frilly tulle and some printed rose stockings. Then we hopped on the metro and took the train to Shibuya to see the gallery...

The gallery was amazing and wasnt really a gallery at all but a shop filled with beautifully groomed Blythe dolls. I need to go now to catch a train to Kyoto...Tokyo has been great and I`ll write about it and my adventure to the gallery when I get there....