Last Day in Hanoi

This first week in Hanoi went by quickly. On the other hand it left me so many impressions that it feels like I have been here for a much longer time.

Tomorrow I will be heading to a little village where I will be staying at a rice farm where I will be integrated into the family till Saturday. That should be an interesting and rather down to earth experience. Somehow, I do not believe to have internet there, hehe, so don’t expect any posts from me.

For the time after that I had booked an excursion into the Northern mountain ranges. However, after meeting the organiser Mr. Huy again today I was not impressed by the route he had planned. In addition he seemed a bit greedy without wanting to put in too much effort for my taste. So I am planning to go a travel company tomorrow morning that had left a good impression on me and whose suggested travel route fits my ideas much better. The plan is to hire a driver with a car and a guide. I will re-negotiate prices with them and if we find an agreement I will change my plans. That would be a 10 day trip then with the chance to have internet from time to time. So, no telling when I will be online again.

For lunch, surprise, surprise, I had not the regular Pho soup – but Bun Cha (grilled pork patties and bacon, that come in a broth, with an extra dipping bowl of a sauce with fish sauce, sliced green papaya and carrots and other stuff, a huge plate of various greens and, of course, an enormous plate with rice vermicelli). It took me nearly superhuman powers to devour this all – but I have always been a strong character :)))

After that I really needed a rest – but instead went touring the colourful streets and eventually bought my first “souvenir” in Vietnam. A silk sleeping bag. I paid 6 Leva/DM for it after some negotiations and it might come in handy on the farm or at guest houses in the mountains. I also bought some postcards which are surprisingly difficult to find here in Hanoi. I guess I will have the time to write them when I’m on the farm, maybe when waiting for my rice-breakfast, -lunch or -dinner to be ready 🙂

And I paid a last visit to that nice café. Here is the innocuous entrance to it:

You walk through several narrow corridors

…before you reach a courtyard where it all starts

After climbing several winding and other stairs you are nearly there

…finally the destination is in sight!

and the rewards at hand:

You order your things already downstairs in the courtyard when entering as the sourly looking waitress comes only once 🙂 You also pay there when you leave. To a certain degree I understand this system as it is truly a challenge to carry everything all the way along narrow winding and other stairs with uneven steps…

After the meeting with tour guide Mr. Huy at my hotel I had the necessary shower and before I knew it it was time for dinner again…

Tonight Uncle Frank decided to give himself a treat and for the first time I had a relaxed dinner in a peaceful up-market garden restaurant close by. It was a pleasant change from all the noise and beeping on the streets.

I chose some not so standard items from the menu like a jelly-fish salad which was pleasantly well balanced between sweet, sour, salty and spicy, just as it should be. The jelly-fish was not as glibbery as expected, in fact its texture complemented the crunchier parts (like peanuts and carrot strips) excellently.

Initially I had wanted to order some soft-shell crabs but I decided to have “Salt simmered fat and lean pork” as another starter first. Where do you see such a thing on the menu elsewhere? 🙂

Instead of boring rice as a side-dish I ordered fried “Morning Glory” with garlic (I never can resist ordering it when I see it for the first time on a menu after a long abstinence. I simply adore it).

As you can see, the portions were not so small and sadly I had no space left for any seafood. Well, there will still be ample opportunity.

Together with the three Tiger beers, the tax and the service fee I forked out about 28 Leva.

Now I am digesting in my room and ready to hand command over to Morpheus.

Chúc ngủ ngon,
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