Do a Little Good While Shopping

A few friends told me about Amazon Smile, smile.amazon.com, where for every purchase you make through Amazon’s charity, a percentage of the cost on eligible items goes to the charity of your choice. You have to go to smile.amazon.com and choose your charity and then from then on, shop through that portal. Easy peasy. At 0.5 percent, it might not seem like a lot, but I bought a book recently and $13 went to my charity of choice.

In preparation for my move to a new adventure, where all roads lead to, I am buying lots of visual storytelling equipment, and now I am doing a little good at the same time (pats self on back). If you want to use it on your iPhone app, you will have to allow notifications. I prefer to use smile.amazon.com from my computer.

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As an aside, I bought a bespoke iPhone SE 2020 case on Amazon Smile from MTRONX Direct. The ink job on the case is well done and the case has the flat sides, like the iPhone design from the 5 SE. Good old days. It took almost two weeks to get the order, but it was worth the wait. Plus, the little holes for my lanyard/hand leash are an added bonus.

 

These Boots Are Made for Talking – Stella Botas

Leather samples.
Leather samples.

Fancy leather boots crafted solely for your feet… One of the many leather products one can spend one’s money on here in Bogota. Stella Bota is well known in the expat community. The boots cost about 125 U.S. dollars so it’s not an inexpensive experience (but it is hand crafted). The shop has many samples of leather in all colors. They have books from which you can select a design or you can bring in a photo. The sales people will measure your feet and it takes about a month for the boots to be ready. You will want to go in for fittings but, then again, anything you can imagine can be made into leather boots, and that is worth the wait.

The dog in a tutu.
The dog in a tutu.

Their address is 14, Diagonal 61C # 27A, Bogotá.

The shop front.
The shop front.

Stella can also repair leather shoes and boots for a feet.

Lots of boots to be inspired by.
Lots of boots to be inspired by.

While the shop is well known, the dog wearing a tutu will ensure that you won’t forget this shop experience.

This boot can be worn three ways.
This boot can be worn three ways: up, down, and scrunched.

Hoi An, the Town of Tailors

This is a typical tailor's shop. I like the t-shirts this lady made for me.
This is a typical tailor’s shop. I like the t-shirts this lady made for me.

Imagine a town where shop after shop is filled with tailors waiting to make you a suit like James Bond’s. That is Hoi An near Danang, Vietnam. Some of the shops (like the one which did James Bond’s suit) are fancy inside as is the other leading shop called Ao Baba. I did not shop at either of these stores. My advice is that if you try several shops, take a photo of the shop so that you’ll remember where you shopped. Also, go to this town in December or January. I went when it was already humid and 93 F at 8 in the morning. This meant that I was too sweaty to try on clothes. Most shops are open from 8 am-9 pm. Most shops can mail you clothes later ($30/kilo) if you email them what you want copied (they will keep your measurements). Some places will let you select material and design online. The pants cost about $25/pair. Shirts cost $20-30. Suits run $140. The shops have lots of material and “samples” for you to get copied (or say that you want that collar with those sleeves etc.) plus many shops have more cloth elsewhere. Just ask. Almost anything can be made. I had sweatpants and a sweatshirt made. There are also shops which sell material including stretch and spandex (something that cannot be bought in Bangladesh). Clothes take about a day to be made but if you have a few days, then you can get a perfect fit at leisure.

A pair of handmade shoes cost $30.
A pair of handmade shoes cost $30.

The town also has shops which will make handmade shoes. Any shoe you can imagine can be copied in your size. They cost $30/pair and take about a day to make.

I also suggest that one stay in Hoi An because the town is a world heritage site (hotels run about $24/night and up) if you are there for the clothes. If you are into the beach, then stay closer to it. The beach is a few miles away from the town of Hoi An. You can also take the bus to the other major sites in Vietnam from Hoi An as the town is geared for tourists.

Again, I would go back. Beautiful town, cheap hotel, 50 cent banh mi sandwiches, strong sweet coffee, and great clothes shopping. But I’d go in January. The humidity made me not care about anything except AC and water. It is not conducive to shopping. The changing room is basically a shower curtain pulled to one side… which led to some comical experiences (standing in a hallway with the shower curtain blowing open while granny, holding baby in arm, tried to yank clothes onto my sweaty back…).

The business cards of the two tailors and show shop that I used.
The business cards of the two tailors and shoe shop that I used.