Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


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Hoi An is a city on Vietnamís central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port cityís melting-pot history (Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles: wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. 21st-century curses of traffic and pollution are almost entirely absent.

After we checked into the hotel -- the Vinh Hung II -- we had a short rest and then gathered in the lobby wth the rest of our crew. A laundry girl met us in the lobby and we gave her a bag of our dirty laundry which she loaded onto her motorbike -- promising to return tomorrow.

Beam, our CEO took us on a walk to the Old Quarter. This is a designated UNESCO site, and there is a charge to enter the area. The ticket is $6.00 and allows many entries into the area, and choice of 5 attractions: museums, templers, old houses, etc. She introduced us to tailors where you can have anything made, an optical place, then to a restaurant, The Lantern Resaurant, for a late lunch. They gave us the special dining room upstairs. Walked past the kitchen and a balcony that looked out onto the river. Food, as always, was great and cheap. We also hit Happy Hour, so it was buy one beer and get one free.

A couple of the group had clothes made -- suits, shirts, etc, -- and a pair of favourite shoes COPIED! As we walked back toward the hotel, Bill started looking at some boots, and of course the salesperson was there right away to help. In a flash his feet were measured at every angle and a price was negotiated. 

He picked a style he's worn since the '60s - a sort of  light "Beatle" boot for stage wear -- made of soft waterbuffalo leather with wedge heels and side zipper. He also chose a full-leather lining. They would be ready for pick-up at 6 the next day. Sue-On picked up a couple of cotton tunics -- in preparation for the even hotter weather in Cambodia.

We carried on exploring the many shops, temples, museums, cafes,  and riverside attractions.

Click for larger full-screen images

Entrance to our Hoi An hotel: Vinh Hung II

The travellers gather in the hotel lobby before hiking to the Old Quarter

A local girl arrives to pick up our laundry - she'll deliver it next day for 1$/kg

Our CEO Beam leads us past the historic town well to the scenic river bank in the Old Quarer

Splendid scenery and local colour along the river

The street is lined with a multitude of tailor and shoe shops.
Custom-made apparel created overnight at amazingly economic prices.

Bill was fascinated by the shoe shops.
He casually entered and before leaving, his feet were measured and he had ordered soft leather zipper boots.

Wedding gowns and men's dress suits were popular items

Guest houses and restaurants were in abundance

We stopped at Lantern Town Restaurant for a late lunch
(See our Dining Gallery for interior shots and close-ups of the food)

On our way back we passed many temples, museums, and people hawking wares


XXIII Photo Annex



Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman