A little absence. A little holiday. A lot of miles.
Vietnam. Some queuing and various modes of transport (taxi, train, metro, maglev, plane, plane, minibus, and legs in between) got us there in the end. Upon arrival a watermelon mojito apologised for our long journey and I accepted.
I don’t think I can say we saw the real Vietnam since sitting on a beach dreaming away in a comfortable lounge chair under a wood straw umbrella while someone brings you fresh pineapple and lime juice is not the image that conjures up when thinking about Vietnam. A trip to the local market in Da Nang probably came closest for me. But for the first time, this was not that kind of trip.
The beach. Some overcast and wild seas. I would have loved a swim in the South China Sea but the whistling lifeguard disrupted my one early morning attempt. I was told a typhoon was raging far away causing dangerous currents on the shore. The red flag remained up during the five days of our stay while we paddled in the infinity pool. Being near the sea is calming and energizing at the same time. I love it.
Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. (Robert Henri)
The food. The Da Nang market has an enormous variety of fruit, veg, fish, meat and many dried things I was unable to name. Some of it ended up at our amazing breakfast each morning. The first day I was like a child in a candy store and this was before I even discovered the mini muffins. The spicy noodle soup with fish became a recurring theme. When I was a kid, my breakfast consisted of a slice of brown bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles. I’ve come a long way. Another favorite was the Morning Glory restaurant, which we accidentally stumbled upon in Hoi An looking for dinner. The food was great and we came back a day later for lunch and a copy of their wonderful book Taste Vietnam. And let me not forget the Vietnamese coffee, hot or with ice, either works. Apparently some add fish sauce or quinine when roasting the beans to perfect the flavour, I even read of chicory getting added. I don’t know what the secret ingredient really is but it turns out like a lovely bittersweet strong sip of awesome (I promise I will never use that word again).
The lanterns. We managed to make it to Hoi An just in time to experience the moon festival. The whole area’s residents seemed to flock to Hoi An and they were all out on their motorbikes (here I was thinking China has crazy traffic). The town was decorated in lanterns and people were floating candles in the Hoi An river. Kids were dressed up for lion dances and paraded through the streets with large drums. And then I went a little crazy at the market buying those cute little lanterns.
Upon our return home a new tenant had occupied our premises. Strange hoppy creature. He decided to set up shop in one of the empty boxes from our air shipment and kind of freaked me out for a while. I did not know how large he was. Not wanting to find out I thought I would just let him live in the box. He decided however to show himself a few hours later and came to join me in the shower. Maybe he was lonely. Without my contact lenses he was still a dark fuzzy ball so we both jumped a little and moved on. From my very short internet search (try google images for chinese bugs without getting itchy) I suspect I showered with a ‘camel cricket’. He didn’t make it by the way.
I am considering a pet turtle.