Same Same, But Different

Hoi An Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 43 › view all entries
(Rice?) field in the center of town
Early in the morning, we hopped off the train in Danang. We headed south and passed by a lovely stretch of beach on the way to Hoi An. I fell asleep on the bus and woke up when we arrived at our hotel. I rested some more and then after breakfast, I decided to see what Hoi An was all about. A few doors down from our hotel, I bumped into The Canadians at a tailor shop. They were well on their way to creating entire new wardrobes. I hung out with them as they made decisions on skirts and dresses but I wasn't quite ready to decide on getting something made.

One of them excitedly told me that they had seen a restaurant called, "Same Same, Not Different" in Hoi An. It was just a day or two before that she had pointed out to me the South East Asian habit of saying "same same".
It's used in many different situations, but you'll most likely hear it when a vendor is trying to sell you something similar to something else. For example, if you are looking at a scarf and thinking about whether or not you should buy it, the vendor might show you one of the same design but in a different color and say, "same same." Depending on the situation, it might be followed by "not different" "but different" or "but better".

When they finished up at that store, we walked some more and around every corner there was a lot of same same. It was one tailor shop after another with a shoemaker mixed in every so often. They ordered more items but I was still unsure so I held off. They were both leaving in Hanoi and getting closer to the end of their trip, so they weren't worried about acquiring a bunch of stuff.
New Year's banner
We had lunch at "Same Same, Not Different". Then I gave in to the tailors by ordering a summer dress, a red shirt in Asian fabric, and a pair of green linen pants to replace the green pants I accidentally left in Siem Reap. After they took my measurements and we agreed on times for me to come back for fittings, I wandered around Hoi An.

Hoi An is a wonderfully walkable city. It's compact and there is less traffic which makes it much easier to cross the street. In some sections, motorcycles aren't allowed. I walked towards one end of town, and when it seemed like there was nothing else to see, I walked back the other direction. I used my map to find the river and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and touristy, but in an artsy way I preferred to the resorty touristiness of Nha Trang.
Art in the water
Everywhere you look there is creativity and crumbling beauty. There is always something to smile at whether it's the silk lanterns everywhere, carefully arranged crafts for sale or just the beautiful simplicity of life.

I went back to for my fittings. I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered three items from three different places. It would've made more sense to order them from the same place. At one shop, the woman working sort of dismissed me when I showed her places where my dress wasn't fitting properly or tried to explain what I had originally asked for. The other two tailor shops were great, they gave me advice and suggested improvements. I met up with the Canadians and we had dinner at "Same Same, But Better". Seriously. I went with them to pick up some of their things.
One of them had ordered a winter coat which was already finished and had turned out beautifully.

Later, I got in touch with our guide, Cat, who was hanging out with the rest of the group. She told me where they were and gave me directions. I walked down to meet them and everyone was leaving. Cat stayed behind though, and we were joined by one of her tour guide friends whose group was passing through Hoi An at the same time. They were telling me the pros and cons of being a tour guide. Pro: incessant travel. Con: incessant travel. He was from Peru and started as a guide in South America. When he wanted a change of scenery, he transferred to South East Asia. He was starting to feel like he was ready to "settle down" and was thinking about moving to Indonesia to become a surfer.
redeye says:
Just two days ago I was in Hoi An, now I'm back home and back to work. Same same, but different. How depressing! Great blog, keep on living the dream!
Posted on: Aug 23, 2008
worldcitizen says:
Some good, some bad... more on that later! I'll probably write a review on it eventually.
Posted on: May 23, 2008
sybil says:
how did your clothes turn out?
Posted on: May 23, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
(Rice?) field in the center of town
(Rice?) field in the center of town
New Years banner
New Year's banner
Art in the water
Art in the water
Lanterns in the trees
Lanterns in the trees
Japanese Covered Bridge
Japanese Covered Bridge
Along the river
Along the river
Monkey guard at one end of the Jap…
Monkey guard at one end of the Ja…
Beautiful hanging flowers
Beautiful hanging flowers
Scarves for sale
Scarves for sale
Dog guard at the other end of the …
Dog guard at the other end of the…
Silk lantern inside the bridge
Silk lantern inside the bridge
Colorful lanterns for sale
Colorful lanterns for sale
Hoi An General Tips & Advice review
Tips for getting great custom clothing
In Hoi An, there is an abundance of tailor shops. For a clothing lover like me, the idea of all of these places where I could get custom made clothing… read entire review
Hoi An