We had been keen on doing a cooking course while we were and holiday and finally settled on a class run by the Gioan Restaurant. The owner was very friendly and we got to choose 4 dishes that we wanted to cook. We decided on Fried Spring Rolls, Pho, Chilli and Lemongrass Squid and Fish in Banana Leaf.
In between our morning at My Son and crunchy omelet there was an afternoon adventure…
The heavy rain began to fall as we left so it was time to try my first Vietnamese coffee (I’d been watching my friend’s increasing addiction so far). The coffee arrives in a glass, with a decent dollop of condensed milk at the bottom and the coffee dripping in from a metal contraption above. Its a wonderful experience to slow right down and watch the coffee tantalising drip into the glass. The result? Very strong, sweet coffee! Its best stirred like crazy to combine the condensed milk and additional hot water.
It continued to rain so I decided that it was about time for a wet photography adventure. Continue reading →
The morning began with me sitting on a baloney overlooking the quiet, still river, freshly showered, with the early morning heat already infusing my face. The light rain is gently cooking the air; unusual as the rain usually falls in the afternoon. The town is already awake with sounds of scooters coming and going; always beeping to let you know they are there. The tyres sound slick on the wet road.
We are heading to the My Son ruins for half a day. I almost didn’t want to leave the town because its been so nice but it was good to get out into the countryside and see how people in the rural areas lived.
I was fully expecting a mass of tourists over running the ruins but Continue reading →
I was mentally exhausted after going to see a tailor last night and ordering a whole range of clothes (who knew there were so many different types of fabrics,patterns, lining, buttons…) so I started the day with a wonderful massage for a mere $15. Although the staff didn’t speak much English I managed to get across that I had hurt my back and then gratefully left myself in their hands. The biggest difference to other massages I’ve had was that I was on a large wooden planked table which was wide enough that your masseur could get on the table with you. It was odd to start with but quickly turned into fantastic!
We decided to brave the traffic, that drove on the wrong side of the road, and hired push bikes to get to Cui Beach which is about 5km out of town. After a wobbly start we were cycling like pros (a quick reminder to my friend that he was on the wrong side of the road as he cornered in an intersection in front of a stationary truck…). It was such a freeing feeling being under my own pedal power and I thoroughly enjoyed cycling out past rice paddies to the wide white sand beach.
We were very hot and bothered by the time we got back so it was back to the hotel for a swim – spoiled rotten! We then had our first fitting for our new clothes and I was really impressed with their tailoring – not quite as impressed with my choice of fabrics and patterns. I now have a new respect for designers!
As always food gets a mention. Mmmm crispy noodles.
When you travel by bus (even the fancy “air conditioned” tourist ones) in Vietnam don’t expect to get to where you are going on time. Factor in a extra hour or so and you are about right.Our first taste of bus travel was late, not as air conditioned as the name might suggest and full of wonderful scenery as we travelled South from Hue to Hoi An.
I’d be looking forward to Hoi An as everyone I spoke to recommended it and it also might have had something to do with there 300 odd tailors there ready to whip up what ever I fancied. Oh affordable clothes I have missed you!
The architecture of Hoi An is beautiful with a stunning French influence. We stayed on the peninsula so had a picturesque stroll across the river each morning to get to the old town each day.
Strolling around the old town was one of the most confusing walks for me. Continue reading →
A beautiful day dawned and I was up at 5.30am as I’m still not used to the early morning heat. A breakfast of bread, orange juice (with a lot of sugar in the bottom) and a rather greasy mushroom omelette and I was ready to face the day. It was a rather odd experience to be watching CNN and see pictures of the snow in Wellington. The last time that city had snow was 1939!
The traffic is still crazy here but there is far less of it to deal with than in Saigon. A stroll down the back roads and across a bridge over the Perfume River and we arrived at the Citadal (great big walled city). It was far better than I expected as from my research it seemed that most of it was in disrepair. It was a fantastic surprise to wander around the old buildings and see the detail that had been painted, engraved and built into the buildings. Continue reading →
This mornings adventure was to walk to the Jade Pagoda. After walking for an hour and asking a bunch of locals we had to admit defeat as no where knew where the right street was let alone the Pagoda. We consoled ourselves with a cold green tea drink in a wonderful little alley full of the daily life of Saigon and a colourful Buddhist temple.
Ahh the first real day of our holiday as we wake up to the sights and sounds of Saigon. A truly extravagant breakfast awaited us on the top floor with a wonderful mix of western and Vietnamese food.
Stepping outside to take some photos the heat really hits me. I suspect a lot of water will be drunk in the next few days.
Main mission today – relearn how to cross a road.
Step 1 – remember that traffic is on the opposite side of the road to home. Look in the right direction before stepping out!
Step 2 – take a deep breath and trust in the advice I’ve read.
Step 3 – step out onto road and walk slowly and steadily across the road. At no stage pause, run or make way for the stampede of scooters coming towards you. Trust that they know what they are doing and you’ll be fine.
Step 4 – watch out for big buses – they don’t swerve around you.
I’m sitting at home in front of my chunky laptop doing my daily scroll through the relentless email alerts for new jobs. “Not enough experience”, “Too much experience”, “Sounds dull”, “Sounds way too exciting!” are the thoughts that are running through my head. Scroll, click, delete.
This method of hunting for a new career has the obvious benefit that I felt like I am taking action. However, it took a conversation with a friend to give me a kick up the career change backside as my friend asked how I could make decisions on likely roles with only half of the facts. She encouraged me to dip my toes in and contact organisations that were possible contenders before I rejected them. As a career strategist she had seen many of her clients staying in a holding pattern because they did exactly what I had been doing. Enough said!
Although I knew her advice was good, and that I had been hiding from the fact that I was rejecting potential jobs before they rejected me, it still took me 4 days to pick up the phone. The mind can be a funny thing and I had been mulling over one part time job in particular. I realised I was missing the point as I was focused on the detail of whether I could live on what the part time job would pay me when I hadn’t yet asked the salary!
At this point I gave myself a firm talking to; wrote a list of exactly what I wanted to know about the job and organisation, asked myself “what was the worst that could happen?” and picked up the phone. Continue reading →