Vietnam: Yen Duc

24/9We woke early for a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of noodle soup. It felt strange but once I got into it I really enjoyed it plus it’s really filling and good for you. 

I tentatively climbed onto my bike again and very cautiously cycled as far away from the edge of the rice field as possible. 

We went to a locals market where we saw lots of regional vegetables and some rather peculiar cuts of meat. It was interesting to see real life people going about their daily business.  

We stopped by at a local cemetery or ‘city for dead people’ as Tea put it, and saw the glamorous pagodas built right up into the mountains. Everyone is buried in this part of the world but they are buried in one place for five years before being transferred to their long term burial site. I’m not sure why that is, and I do hope no one decides to shuffle me around after I die!

We went to visit a 78 year old broom maker called Tac next who showed us the steps involved in creating a broom to sell at market. It was a surprisingly tricky and long winded process but it was extremely therapeutic.

 Tac laughed her socks off every time one of us showed her our creations, and regularly undid sections of our handiwork and handed it back to us to try again- I don’t think we quite mastered the art but it was fun nonetheless. 

Andy’s creation was somewhat off piste, and we found lots of other fancy dress functions for it.

We got back and cleaned off and made green papaya salad together for lunch. I say ‘we’ but really Matthew and I attempted to grate the papaya but gave up and Gill and Rachel did all the hard work. It was quite a simple process but was really yummy.

We had lunch before going to see the water puppets which was very strange but a tradition in Vietnam so I guess you have to experience these things. I most enjoyed going back stage afterwards to see the puppets up close and have a demonstration of how they work. They’re essentially all on long sticks, but I’m still bewildered by how they manage to keep them so symmetrical.

We said an emotional farewell to Tea and took the bus back to Hanoi, chatting all the way to our new friends who kindly invited us to meet them when we get to Brisbane- we are both really looking forward to seeing them again, as the trip would’ve been good but not so much fun without the lovely friends we made.

The thunder storm which greeted us in Hanoi was rather epic- some of the loudest cracks of thunder I’ve ever heard and absolutely torrential rain that quickly saturated the gutters. We spent some time looking through our photos and waiting for the storm to pass before heading to the highly recommended Gia Ngu for dinner.