10.26.2009 - 11.19.2009 90 °F
Students love to practice English with the foreigner
Walking home from the Foodshop, I came past this park fountain
Students coming from school at St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi
What a day! It started early with breakfast at the Rainbow Cafe on Hang Hanh, continuing with bike races around Hoan Kiem Lake, and an iced tea at City View Cafe. Off to a shower at the Especen, and a very relaxing foot massage at Van Xuan on Ly Quoc Su (80,000VND for 70 min - bargain price). Then back to the Lake to get a shoulder bag and converse with several English students for 2 hours. By this time I'm half starved (17:30), so another half hour to find a Mai Linh taxi (the most trusted company in Vietnam) to take me to Truc Bac Lake for dinner at Foodshop 45 (Indian). Did I ever pick the right place to eat - a most romantic and relaxing atmosphere in a room open to the lake breeze. Best waitstaff I've yet encountered in country, and the food was sensational (onion fritters with 3 dipping sauces, Chicken Biryani rice and Prawn Curry - all with Halida Beer on ice, and to top off this fantastic meal I chose fresh fruit slices (banana, mango and watermelon) - 204,000VND, but well worth every Dong! I walked all the way back to Hoan Kiem Lake (2 miles) since I couldn't get a Mai Linh car, but it was very colorful - this town is abaze with lights on a Sunday, and at least 1 mile of the walk was through the Night Market.
I'm off to the Especen to pay my bill and an early bedtime - have to be up at the crack of dawn for the Haiphong train and then on the hydrofoil for Cat Ba Island. Just a day or two on the island and then back here and on to the NW Highlands next weekend. Diep generously gave me free train tickets RT to Lao Cai for the trip - can't beat that for generous!
More next time w/a few more pictures. I'm adjusting to the heat better now, and only sweat by the pint instead of the gallon.