Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Fashion Parade and Moving On To Less Girly, More Subterranean Pursuits

Introducing my new wardrobe by Yaly Couture (an alright tailor shop in Hoi An but not the best):
Sheath Dress  
Wool Coat  
 Shirt dress - my least favorite thing I had made :(
I snapped this picture of Marina passing on alteration instructions to the tailor next door to Yaly
And the rest of my new wardrobe  by Tina Design (my favorite tailor - she is the best!)
Cotton Shirt
Chinese Silk Party Dress
Wool Cashmere Skirt and Blazer
Blouse and back of wool cashmere skirt

Matching wool cashmere fitted trousers

Another Blouse, the trousers, and Tina! 
 The damage is done.  8kg of clothing shipped to Jenny in Calgary for safekeeping until my return.
To summarize my tailoring experience, Yaly did not do nearly as good a job as Tina did.  I would recommend Tina over Yaly and I would return to Tina for tailoring in the future.  She was able to get clothing to fit perfectly without any alternations just based on very careful measurement taking and skill at crafting clothing whereas the clothing I had made at Yaly only fit after numerous alterations and I wasn't as happy with the end product as I was with the product from Tina.  Tina does all her own work whereas Yaly has 300 tailors so you never know what you will get and you can be sure that the tailor is not the one measuring you at Yaly... Tina takes her own measurements.  I was amazed at the work Tina did.  When I tried on the pants she made me for the first time I said to her "I have never tried on a pair of pants that fit this good... EVER.  Can I order another pair in a different color right now?"... I could, so I did.  Now that I know Tina has my measurements and can make something that will fit me perfectly without alterations, I can also order things in the future by email and have them shipped to me in Canada!
... And now for something completely different.  I took the train from Da Nang to Dong Hoi and then to a car to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park so I could see some caves.  I stayed overnight in a dorm at Easy Tiger hotel (great spot by the way!) and took a tour of the National Park the following day.
 I saw a big-ass moth
and the most amazing cave I have ever seen; Paradise Cave.  SPECTACULAR!

This feature is way larger than the photo shows... likely 30m high I think!

This one looked like a Christmas Tree

Natural infinity pools

Subterranean selfie

Rimstones (aka Gours) form dams holding back cave water in glassy pools
Beautiful misty afternoon


the coolest spider I have ever seen!  I've seen things that look like this before but Zebra crabs live in the ocean!?!?

The turbulent water in the foreground marks an upwelling from a spring below.  When inflow is high the spring can make a bulge the size of a vokswagen!  It is suspected that this spring originates from a cave system which originates in Laos (80km away!) which would make this the entrance to the (future) worlds largest cave.  Amazing
We ended the day with a kayak trip to the entrance of Dark Cave which we then walked and waded into because it is a wet cave.  We then walked along some narrow, wet, muddy passages barefoot with shin-deep soft silky mud and water dripping from the ceiling.  We turned off our headlamps to experience absolute darkness, then a few of us explored two branches off the main passage.  We had to crawl through one passage and then swim through another (heads out of the water of course... no diving here) until we reached a dead end.  The other branch had a huge mud mound we had to climb up and slide down on the other side which was really fun.  Next we swam in the main cave entrance to clean the mud off ourselves and headed back to the hotel.  I sadly have no photos of dark cave because I didn't want to risk my camera.  The caving was amazing.  I had an incredible time and I'm so glad I took the time to make my way to this incredible park, even though it is a little off the beaten track.
Tomorrow I will explore the area by bicycle and perhaps go and see Phong Na cave which is only 3km from the hotel and is accessible by boats which are only 1km from the hotel.  In the evening I am going to take the soft sleeper to Hanoi...wish me luck and fingers crossed that there are only 4 people in the berth this time... not 7!

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