Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Side Effects

Since Ira has been going to the gym regularly, he feels better and arguably looks better. The one problem is that his pants are swimming on him. Of course, in the US, tailors are extremely expensive and it is sometimes worth it just to buy new pants. There is an older couple that we see nearly every day at the gym. At first they seemed standoffish but eventually they began nodding and smiling. Neither speaks a word of English so communication is not easy. Ira finally managed to use his Vietnamese and found out that the man is a tailor and that he said he could take in pants. Ira took five pairs and rode down to the man's shop, armed with Mr. Long's business card. Since Mr. Long was not in, Ira tried to explain to the people in the shop that he knew the proprietor from the gym and that these pants needed to be taken in. They seemed to understand and said that it would be fifteen minutes. Ira asked where he could find a cafe to have a coffee until the tailor arrived. They took him to an auto parts shop, where a woman had a few stools and a plastic bottle full of coffee. For 4000d(about a quarter) you can get a strong coffee with milk and ice. After the 15 minutes, Mr. Long appeared and brought Ira back to the shop. Unlike the US, there is no fitting! He measured Ira's waist and then the pants and, without writing anything down, dismissed him with the promise that he would bring the pants to the gym when they were finished. "Next week?" "No a day or two tops!" Imagine Ira's surprise when, at around 3 pm, the phone rang and it was the fitness centre attendant informing him that his pants were here. Of course, Ira wondered how they would fit, there having been no fitting. Not to worry! All five pairs fit just right, and all for about $2.25 each! What a country!

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