May 172016

Although Hanoi was a pleasant break I was glad to get back to the quieter life of the village.

Things to try in Hanoi…. egg coffee. Yep it is what you think….take a egg yolk and beat with condensed milk, add freshly brewed coffee, whisk and warlah. It tastes real good although a bit sweet for me.

And then there is crispy fried chicken feet. A great snack food to wash down with a local beer.

Or if you are feeling adventurous there is the boiled baby duckling in its shell. it is supposed to be high in,protein and sort after. I watched one being eaten and decided not for me.

Then the rice wine. This is more a man’s drink as it’s supposed to improve potency. Usually comes infused with either a sea horse, some animals penis ( still haven’t been able to decipher from which animal) a snakes beating heart or for the vegetarian some herbs. It’s on my list to try before I leave.

The other day while having lunch at the local cafe a motorbike pullled up at the cafe across the road with a load of 6 month old puppies. Yep…they were on the menu. They are eaten by mothers whom have just given birth to bring down their milk and apparently taste like lamb. Very strong. I couldn’t watch them being unloaded. Put a damper on the rest of my meal and the afternoon. Apparently, a certain breed of dog is raised for the table. Other dogs are pets and will never be eaten.

Monday night the restaurant we always have dinner at caught some fresh water fish from the lake. He offered it to us for dinner.. it was lovely and fresh. He didn’t charge us for the meal as he didn’t pay for the fish then we don’t either. Last night he offered us fish again. It was in a tank of airated dirty water. I asked how long it had been in the tank. Five days. Then I asked how often the water had been changed. Never. I passed on that one.

Yesterday we saw a funeral procession. Today I asked Terry  (boss) about funerals here. They go for 72 hours non stop then the body is buried for 12 months. At 12 months the body is dug up, the bones cleaned by the family and reburied for good. During that first year there are lots of pilgrimages to the pagoda to offer prayers etc to the deceased. People are usually buried on their family land and the produce is grown around the tombs. However, in the cities it is more common to have the body cremated due to lack of land space for burial.

We have a new volunteer started this week. Jenna is an OT from Hawaii. She is amazing with her knowledge and we get on well. I have been saying for a while now that most of the children in my room should be feeding themselves. so I have been slowly letting a few of them feed themselves while taking negative comments from the staff. Jenna came in today and we joined forces to get these kids to feed themselves and we won today. Let’s see what tomorrow  brings.

The weather has cooled down to around 28-30c and is cloudy most days. Much more bearable.

I hear the weather is cold and wet. I will be thinking of you all as I float around Ha Long bay on a junk over the weekend ?




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