On Wednesday, back at the Essence hotel was like coming home and seeing old friends.  It is such a warm and friendly staff and of course the room was great.  I organized stuff in preparation for the train to Hue and took a bath.  Heavenly!  I knew I had alot to do in the morning before Hoai, Hahn, Xi and Terry came to the hotel at noon to have lunch so I tried to get to sleep early.  As usual I woke early.

I had finished breakfast before 8 but the electronic store that I needed to take my camera to did not open until nine So to not waste a minute I figured out how to get to the Spa that Paula had told us about.  Turns out it was 2 quick rights from my hotel and no streets to cross.  Even though it said open and they welcomed me in I saw that they really did not open until 9 but they found someone to give me the foot massage that I had been hearing about for two weeks.  Well, first of all it was better than I could have imagined and it was way more than just a foot massage.  Arms, neck, back and of course the legs.  I ended up being there for an hour and the cost was 250,000 dongs. FYI that translates to less than 20 dollars.  Of course I gave a nice tip.  Quite a contrast to the start of my days in BaVi.  But honestly I was enjoying it while at the same time missing the kids and the routine.

I was also nervous about getting the camera either fixed or if necessary replaced.  As it turned out there was no need to worry.  The shop was right across from the Lake and I had passed it many times- less than 5 minute walk from my hotel but I did have to cross 2 streets.  However I am a pro now!  So it turns out the camera can not be fixed but the price of the same camera was 65 USD so I now have a brand new camera just like my old one.  perfect for someone who points and shoots.  I also was able to get my phone working again.  Feeling very accomplished I did some gift shopping on the way back to the hotel.  I washed my hair, showered and packed.  I needed to check out before noon.

As I was finishing my check out everyone met in the lobby.  After much discussion a restaurant was chosen and we all helmuted up and took motor scooters to go eat.  This was probably the best meal I have had since being here and I think I have already told you how much I have enjoyed to food.  The only thing I am missing is salad and it was probably good to have a break because Paul thinks that is all I eat.  Anyway Hoai loved the water bottle I gave her that she will be able to use when she goes to New Zealand.  She surprised me with a bracelet that she bought for me when she went to Ho Chi Minh’s town where he was from.  The reunion was emotional.  And anticipating the good byes was also right there.  We managed to have alot of fun, eat well and go to a cafe for the wonderful Vietnamese coffee I am now addicted to.  Yes, condensed milk and thick dark coffee over ice is my new favorite drink.  While at the cafe we spent some time discussing the needs of the centre and ways we can affect change given the limitations of it being a state run institution.  So my hope is to try and figure out how to get some OT’s and PT’s ther to help train the staff to do more with kids so they all do not end up sitting in two rows staring at the walls and each other in Room 3 and 4.  Right now it is an idea hopefully I can figure out a way to make it happen.

I was being picked up by the car to take me to the train to Hue at 6pm.   The night train with a soft sleeper…..


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