It’s been almost 2 years now since I left Vietnam. On my trip and why I was there you can read here, but thought I will share this article on how I bought shoes. It was later republished in The Rough Guide To Vietnam. Currently $1 = 20 833VND


9th August, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana “Face” shoes

one if the things i was really looking forward to do in Vietnam was to get somebody skillful enough to make shoes. few months ago i saw these and immediately fell in love.

we searched and searched and couldn’t find anybody skillful enough to make these shoes in Saigon. until Tram took me to Hoi An. just the thought of being in a town full of tailors and shoe makers made me really excited. as we were visiting just for one day and the last bus to Da Nang left at 6pm, Tram told me that there is no way shoes can be made in few hours.

Tram wanted to buy some souvenirs for her friends in Finland but i wanted to browse around shoe shops so we agreed to meet after half an hour near by the museum.

few minutes later i found myself in a shoe shop next door and a lady telling me that she can make me any shoes i want, in fact there is a computer opposite the road and i can easily look up any design. so i did.

when she saw these rare Dolce & Gabbana “Face” shoes, she asked me if i want to make them curvy and if i really want to have those blue eyes sued on the shoes. i replied that i want everything as it is in the original so she set the price $75. since i already made up my mind that i am prepared to pay up to $100 for these, i was so excited that i didn’t even haggle.

few moments later they asked me to choose the colour and type of leather, took all the measures of my feet and asked me to pay. i had only 460.000 VND on me (total price was 1.5m VND) so i left the money and said to wait for my friend to borrow the rest. now, i have to say that $1.5m VND is enough money for me to eat 30 days in a good restaurant in Saigon.

when i met Tram i was all buzzing from excitement delivering good news and all she said was: oh my god, why are they so expensive? did you bargain? those shoes you want are quite complicated to make, can you trust them that they are able to make them within such a short period of time? besides, no shoes cost so much, lets go back i will figure out something.

we went back and Tram lead all the conversation and tried hard to lower the price, but it was pointless. business in Vietnam generally works that after the price is set, there is no way you can bargain. since i already left 460.000 VND with them and i really wanted those shoes, Tram said that i might as well just pay the rest and have them. and i did.

since the shoes weren’t ready by the time we had to catch our last bus, i paid 50.000 VND extra for them to be delivered to our hotel in Da Nang.

when i received those shoes, i couldn’t believe my eyes! everything: stitching, heels, even the size of the shoes was so monstrous and horrific, they reminded me about my own mistakes so i got so angry that i chucked them out immediately!

Tram posing in my “Face” shoes right before they landed in a bin

i was mainly angry with myself. i couldn’t believe how self-indulgent, blinded by madness and stupidity i was. i forgot to use any common sense when ordering and buying those shoes and that made me very upset. i thought to myself that these kind of things happen when your heart gets all greedy, gullible and envious over something you really want and really don’t need.

and that’s how i bought shoes.