Steve and I are taking dance classes with a private instructor to choreograph our first dance. It's been fun and our instructor is fantastic, however I have been without proper dance shoes. I injured my knee before I began my Gypsy Tour and it still hasn't healed properly. I have been having some difficulty on some of my turns in dance class and in practice due to torquing my knee.
I mentioned at the dance studio that I was looking for a place to buy some ballroom dancing shoes and we were given the business card of a place in San Jose that sells the appropriate shoes for less than $50 (typically they run over $100 as they have a fabric type covering the ball of the bottom of the shoe to move better across the dance floor)
The business on the card was called "Khai Hoan II" and it's description claimed "souvenirs, shoes, cosmetics, laquers, CDs, Videos, DVDs, toys, cellular phone, electronic dictionaries, and health care products.
A description like that made us suspicious and I checked online to see if this magical place had a website - it did not, however the promise of cheap dance shoes was enough for us to plot out a transit route to the store to check it out. Now you are probably asking yourself why I am writing a blog post on our travel blog about this obscure hunt for ballroom dancing shoes - you have no idea -THE SHOES!
I have recently begun to appreciate shoes though most of my appreciation is from afar on the internet as I do not want to part with my money when I have a perfectly good pair of shoes for "x" event already. Take for example these amazing shoes from IronFist.
This store in San Jose however, could break the bank and you'd have tons of shoes to show for it!
A Mecca of Shoes
We got off the bus at a strip mall with lots of Asian writing on the signs, food places, water purification - it didn't look very promising. We saw a two neon signs of high heel shoes in the window of "Khai Hoan II".
(Not the actual sign, photo taken from this place Google image search found for me)
As we walk in, it's hard to describe, there was literally a pyramid of shoes, all on boxes, floor to ceiling (wish I had my camera with me). Within seconds of entering the store I was asked if I needed any help, I mentioned we were looking for ballroom dancing shoes and within 30 seconds I had about 6 different shoes in my hand.
I chose two I wanted to try on, told my size to the lady helping me and she called a child over. The child leaves the store (to I assume a larger warehouse or back area) for about 2 minutes and comes back with my size.
In the end I chose the pair of shoes I liked best and could wear at our wedding for dancing - $35. That's it. I had a hard time not choosing a second or third pair of shoes at that price.
If you are visiting and you want to go shoe shopping for some dress shoes, I know the place, oh yes I know the place!