Katja goes out to do yoga while I just turn over and sleep a little longer. I get up eventually and make ready a couple of blog posts. Then Katja bursts back through the door.”You wanna know what I have done!”, she exclaimes.
Turns out the yoga had canceled the morning class. Katja went for a run instead and did several different training sessions with the locals. She had danced Lambada (remember that one?), been doing aerobic and other dancing and finally she had done Tai Chi with a group in the park. A master and his students were training and Katja asked if she could join in. Good things happen to good people, and even more good things happens to those who dare ask.
The master only spoke Vietnamese, but one of his students work in the National Bank and happily translated for her. They did pattern number 34. A truly memorable experience for her.
When we go out together with Mette we walk to a crossing close to the hotel and get a coffee on the veranda on third third floor. We sit there a while just looking at the traffic and enjoying life.
We walked a couple of kilometers through the city so we could step out on the bridge design by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. The same guy who designed the Eiffel tower. But you did catch that one, I’m sure. It’s the old railroad bridge that’s still in use.
Before entering the bridge we went into the local market in one last try to get another knife. This time I was armed with a picture off three knife type I wanted and we got hold of one. The first one presented is something out of a pirate move (Gustav would have liked it) but the second one was ok. A little haggling later, including rolling of eyes, criticizing or proclaiming quality we ended up with an ok price. Then we entered the bridge.
The railroad runs in the middle and it got motorcycle roads on each side. The walkway on the outer part of the bridge is built with stone slabs and have gaps between them. Gaps so big you can see down through then on the ground below.
Mette got a good and high heart rate out of that. Personally I have the feeling that if one of these slabs would break and I would plunge to certain death. But you know what? Do one thing every day that scares you!
We walked out to the middle of the bridge and were lucky enough to have a train run by. It gave a extra tickling feeling when the vibration from the train hit us. The bridge is otherwise heavily used by motorcyclists to cross over the Red river.
Safely back to shore we started looking for lunch. We found a street place that served Phò. It’s noodle soup with meat and vegetables. The girls did beef, I did chicken. The girls won.
After lunch we strolled slowly through the streets and relaxed at the hotel. We have a date with Ryan again this evening and we’ll meet up with him later.
When we went out for dinner we found a little place called Cong caphe. The Cong part relates to the old Vietcong name that was given to the soldiers of FNL during the Vietnam war. Vietcong came from the longer Việt Nam Cộng-sản, that means something like Vietnamese communists. Vietcong was not a name they used themselves but one put on them by their enemies.
We had seen this place a couple of times before and noticed they have a great little terrace on the third floor. We were lucky enough to get a table by the rail and looked down at an intersection. Holy mother of lucky pedestrian! We saw the traffic grow into rush hour and praised higher deities we sat safely drinking beer. A little video shows how chaotic it was at times.
We drank some beers, chatted and had a great time waiting for Ryan. He arrived and we grabbed a few more beers before moving across the street to one of the most popular restaurants around here.
The place once again provides us with chairs rising a maximum of twenty centimeters above ground. Good thing my joints are in good condition. We ate something very heavy compared to our other Vietnamese dishes. It’s sticky rice with a special sauce and pork/chicken/beef. I liked it a lot, the girls prefer the lighter meals.
While eating we told Ryan about our lunch and how I was not very happy with my chicken. Turns out the Vietnamese think that chicken breast is the least tasty on the chicken and that the legs and other fat and cartilage parts are more tasty. A complete opposite to us then. I probably got the “best part of the chicken” today. I just didn’t know how to appreciate it.
We’re never up late and today I think we stayed up the longest here in Vietnam. We said good night to Ryan with hopes of meeting up again in Bangkok later this year. Humming we went down to the hotel. “Humming what?”, you ask? The melody of Hello Vietnam, I tell you. A song that we first heard when our guide to Halong bay, Tom, sang it to us in the bus on our way into Hanoi in the evening. Mentioning this to Ryan it turns out he’s singing it on a company gathering in a couple of days. Both have great voices, and did the song credit. It’s nice. Listen to it if you can. It’s written by a man who’s never been to Vietnam, but is of Vietnamese heritage.
Nowadays what isn’t worth saying is sung.
― Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, Le Barbier de Séville