Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shopping for Shoes in Viet Nam

Sorry for all of the posts being out of order, but I guess it’s a side effect of traveling — unreliable internet. Currently I am in Viet Nam in Rex Hotel enjoying the Wi-Fi. Ashley and I spent the day climbing through the Cu Chi tunnels created by the Vietcong in the Vietnam War or American War, as they refer to it. A war tactic that helped them win the war against the Americans.

Viet Nam is a lively place. I have never seen so many motorcycles on the road or cars in general. The streets are jam packed and crossing it on foot is a sport. As the cars, motorcycles and bicycles speed by we have to walk directly into traffic at a turtle's pace. This speed is apparently easier for to see us and avoid us. It surprisingly works really well despite the heart attack halfway through.

The first day in Saigon a.k.a. Ho Chi Minh City we traveled to the Ben Thanh market. It is a large complex jam packed with thousands of vendors. The alleyways to walk through is almost as tiny as the Cu Chi tunnels, which we had to crawl through. They are selling North Face everything, designer handbags, and much more at a heavily discounted price. For instance, a Prada handbag that looks and feels real is $30. All the Semester at Sea students were buying up the back packs and getting dresses made.

And the shoes, well they are a completely different thing. There are mountains of them, stacks upon stacks, rows, bins, drawers, boxes and are even hanging. It is a site to be had for a shoe lover. It could take someone a day just to go through one alleyway of shoes. They are selling designer ones to traditional.

On my adventure in the market a stall with intricate designed sandals caught my eye. As I picked up a white beaded pair the woman grabbed it and asked the other woman behind the tiny counter to get me my size. The woman promptly disappeared, where I have no idea because the space we were standing in was smaller than a closet. I sat down and tried to squeeze my swollen sweaty foot, from the sticky humidity, into the shoe. The woman smiled and said “No good!” She grabbed the next size and again “No good! Big feet.” We both laughed as a said “Yes” shamefully. The next size up was their largest and it fit. The Vietnamese people in general are very tiny, slender and short. The shoe seller, when she stood upright, came only to my shoulder. The rest of the day shopping for clothes went the same way.

Spain and Our Cabin

Our Cabin on Board Ship

Video diary in Spain

Shoes from India

While there are many beautiful and hand made shoes in India, I got to wear bright red elastic hold ones. They are actually the shoe covers for those who don’t want to take off their shoes to go inside the Taj Mahal.

The traditional shoes worn with sarees and other traditional wear were sold in the open-air markets. The sparkles and beautiful vibrant colors had faded with the dust and pollution off the busy streets. Apparently they sit for a while on the shelves, not many women wear traditional clothing like sarees anymore in large cities of India. More women were sandals and high heel sandals. The traditional shoes are slippers with a pointed or rounded top. They are made out of strung beads and colorful backgrounds.


Images from India

Guards in Jaipur


Women working

The Taj Mahal

With an elephant at Amber Fort

Amber Fort

Faces from Africa




South Africa

South Africa