It has been a few days since my last post. I have been busy, so here goes. Saturday was spent catching up with friends from my April trip, drinking coffee, and spending a restorative day from travel. I met up with my friend, Lien, she was my guide and interpeter when I was last in Hanoi. She is actually a friend of my airport taxi driver Curong. We had coffee and caught up on what has been happening in our lives since our last meeting. I have been wanting to visit the Buddhist Temples and Pagodas in and around Hanoi. I struck a deal to go, visit, celebrate, and worship with Lien and her sister, Yen, the next day, Sunday. Though I am not very Religious, there is a spiritual side to me that is not seen too often. I had a day that touched my inner being. I learned and participated in many of the rituals of the Buddhist way of thinking and living. My understanding was greatly enhanced, though I have only scratched the surface of the Buddhist Religion. Monday was spent lounging in my room and generally relaxing as it poured rain all day. I did venture out for several coffees. Did I mention how much I like Vietnamese coffee!!!!!!
Tuesday was my 67th Birthday. I spent the day walking in Tay Ho area looking at the various sites and buildings. Lien met up with me and she toured me through Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace grounds and Mausoleum. I was told that I had to be free for 6:00 pm that evening. At 6 oclock Lien arrived and took me to a restaurant. I was met by Curong, Yen, and Tuan, Curong’s son. I was led to a table where there was a Birthday cake, bottle of French red wine, and a bouquet of flowers for me. I had mentioned in passing that I had an upcoming Birthday. I love Vietnam and it’s people. A feast ensued. We had greens, grilled squid, vegetables, noodles, and a 2.5 kg Garoupa done 3 ways. It was grilled, braised, and cooked in a hotpot. I cannot say which was best as the fish was done to perfection all three ways. Several beers and a bottle of wine later my cake, loaded with candles was set ablaze. My job, of course was to extinguish the flames. I was amazed by how much wind I brought to the task. Coffee and Birthday cake for dessert was an excellent way to finish an exquisive meal. I went home and slept like a baby. A 67 year old baby.
Wednesday morning arrived and I had a light breakfast of fresh fruit, and coffee. I left my room and walked around Lake Tay Ho, about 19 km. I had mi man thang for 2nd breakfast, a banh mi, for late lunch, and bun ngon for dinner. Oh, I also had several coffees. Did I mention how much I like Vietnamese coffee!!!!