Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dispatches from Vietnam: #2 - Shopping

There are lots of interesting things to buy here in Hanoi, and most of them are really cheap. In downtown Hanoi the streets had all sorts of street vendors on them. One thing you can get for very cheap here is DVDs - I got the first four seasons of The Office for only 100,000 VND (about $6). However when I got home I found out that it was actually the British version, not the American one (which was surprising because the front cover clearly displayed the characters from the American version).

But anyway, I have decided that my main goal for shopping in Vietnam is to get items that look like they belong in Amtgard, so I could use them or sell them at an Amtgard event. (Also it makes it a lot more fun to walk around if I'm actually looking for something.) I got a very cool looking silk robe that looks like it would be perfect for Amtgard for only $18 (this person actually took US dollars). Today, I went to a "craft village," a village full of stores that all sell the same kind of product. The one I went to was a pottery village. There was a whole road full of stores and then when I got to the end, there was an open-air market with even more stuff to buy. At one of the merchants I saw a basket full of small decorated bottles that could easily be magical healing potion bottles. I asked how much they were and the merchant held up two fingers. I at first thought this meant two dollars each but it turned out it meant 2,000 VND (about $0.12) each, so I got a whole bunch of them. I also got a small sculpture that llooked kind of like a castle for 60,000 VND (about $4).

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