Did I mention I had guests? It has been a mad month since I got back to Vietnam... first up.. I arrived back from Pakistan and had some old friends come to visit 3 days later. My daughters also had some major evenings coming up which meant they both needed to make some wardrobe purchases... trying to balance guests needs with the kids... while trying to get over fatigue from jet lag and illness was quite a challenge.. my older one is relatively easy to shop for.. my youngest ... well... is tougher... though at the end of it they both managed to get lovely things ...
Another major challenge was trying to figure out what to show our guests... Now Vietnam is an amazing place... but it also all depends on the interests of your guests... Sadly my dear friend Barbara Adam from saigonstreeteats.com was not around as the family had gone to Cambodia to vacation, otherwise a food tour is a MUST for all guests visiting. They weren't too interested in the museum... which though is a very depressing visit...but if you enjoy history... is fairly decent.
But it is depressing... and my guests understandably just wanted happy memories to be built while on holiday. So ... shopping I knew would be a hit... and merrily led them down to Saigon square, Russian market... and of course Taka plaza where they went nuts!
Also... they were very interested in the embroidery from Vietnam. Not the tacky kind one finds in any souvenir store... Now I knew I had seen a beautiful embroidery place somewhere... but couldn't remember where exactly... This is the kind of embroidery that is so beautiful that if you didn't know better.. you would think it is a painting... luckily my app Foursquare came to the rescue and we were able to locate the embroidery place..
When one first walks in ... one sees the craftswomen at work right in front and of course the finished pieces are hung on the walls... or on screens... incredible work.. last time I had come .. I didn't find anything I liked... but this time there were a few pieces that were absolutely stunning.. my dear husband noticed I had fallen in love with one piece and immediately snapped it up despite my protests while my guests made a few purchases all the while salivating over this one huge landscape that was seriously amazing... Pricey for sure... the one that had all our eyes glued was worth about $15,000 yet despite the price tag... my guests were trying to figure out a way to take it back with them. The workmanship was unbelievable.
Yes the above pic is embroidered ... its not a painting... they are that good!!!! which justifies the price tag I guess... some pieces take a year to finish.. and sometimes they have 4 artists working on them... so if you are planning a trip to Vietnam... do look for the XQ hand embroidery place... not sure how long this craft will survive... but while its still alive... and if you like art.. you may just find a piece here you love