This morning I finally made it to a tailor in my city. Nicky, a fellow teacher with ESI, brought me to Mr. Loi's shop. And he's all he's cracked up to be. At about 60 years old, he has 30 years of tailor-ing experience and excellent English.
Before that? He studied engineering and technology in Southern Vietnam and worked with gas and oil on ships in the ocean. He worked with Norwegians, so when the Russians came in with their oil/gas company, sometime in the late 70s, he had to find a new job because the engineering position didn't pay well (I didn't catch all the details). The man he was living with was a tailor and taught him the art.
Mr. Loi moved up to Da Nang (our city) later and is probably the most popular tailor for the foreigners (we Americans, Australians, Koreans, French, Brits, Canadians, Germans, Hungarians, etc). He's also very popular with the locals. The biggest holiday in Vietnam is the lunar new year, called Tet, and this year it's February 3rd. The tradition is to get new clothes made for Tet. He's very busy right now!
We stopped by his shop and before I even showed him the clothes I wanted him to allter, we talked for a while and his wife even ordered coffee for us from a nearby coffee shop. She walked over to the coffee shop, ordered and came back. A few minutes later, someone from the coffee shop walked over with a tray of our coffee drinks (cafe sua for me, bat sui for Nicky) and tea for everyone. We were there for over an hour and the 'tailoring' part of it took less than five minutes. I didn't even put on the clothes I brought. He just measured me and then marked on my clothes.
I plan to get some clothes made here--first up? Sweat pants!