Today was, without doubt, my most memorable day in Vietnam so far.
Yesterday I had called my new Hanoi friends to say good bye to them. And I mentioned my poor condition and that maybe I would have to delay my trip for a day.
Can you imagine my surprise when at noon the reception called me to tell me I had a visitor. It was the chef of the Hungarian embassy who had cooked me a mild rice soup with eggs and had come all the way through Hanoi to feed me and bring me some medicine. Unbelievable.
Even more unbelievable was that merely an hour later my “personal guide” arrived with a girl friend to treat me the traditional Vietnamese way. Also unannounced.
She had roasted and chopped some ginger at home that she mixed with tiger balm and rice brandy. Then she wrapped some hair (from her daughter) in a piece of cloth which she used like a tampon to rub the tincture onto all my body (well, nearly).
I certainly have never been pampered so much by any one who I barely know.
It made me feel a little ashamed and it was difficult for me to accept all this attention – who am I after all to deserve this – but I was also deeply touched.
Afterwards it did not come as a big surprise that at 6pm the other lady arrived again with my dinner.
Am I not so extremely privileged to meet such outstanding people that care about others?! This is Vietnam! I wish we also would care more about the people around us in our European countries…I am still in awe!