I am currently sitting in KL airport waiting for my connecting flight back home. Unfortunately it is a 5hour wait however they do have a bar and free WIFI so I can not really complain too much.
My last weekend was lovely, Saturday was pretty quiet as most of the house were nursing sore heads from the night before. I was up nice and early ready to make the most of my last weekend. Funny really, as I didn’t really leave the house.
The beautiful Ha and her university friend came over to the house around 10am, as part of her university degree she has to manage a project, in her case they are starting a cafe for local students and foreigners to exchange stories, culture and work on their languages. She needed some foreigners to act as case studies and say what we would expect from such an establishment. We walked down the road to a small local cafe, it was beautiful, we sat on bamboo mats on the floor drinking iced tea while we took turns in being recorded. I didn’t hang around for long…so much to do!
I went into district 1 to buy some last minute gifts for the family however upon stepping off the bus I realised I took the wrong card with me, my credit card which I am unable to withdraw from. So the task was set, how to make my 200,000VND stretch to get the gifts.
I know haggling/bargaining is normal in Asian countries and I know working in Sales I should be really good at it, but seriously, such a head ache. I hate it. Hate it with a passion, I did have my mind mad up however and turns out, I was able to get what I wanted with what I had. If I had more money I probably would have given in. Feeling pretty chuffed with myself I made the trip home. Maria (aka Miss Spain) had made us a lovely lunch, it was garlic bread with tomato and an egg & potato topping. She also made sanggria (YUMMMOOOO) We chilled out at the house for the afternoon before some of the local volunteers came around, we decided to go out for dinner.
Thao and her friend took Maria and I into the suburbs, as we were walking down the street all the locals were coming out to the street and yelling out HI before running away. It felt like the circus was in town, Thao was laughing her head off “You are quite remarkable” she said to me. Not really sure what she meant however I do not think many foreigners come into that part of town so I can only assume. We walked for about half an hour before we went into a small street restaurant. The kitchen was out the front and we sat on the foot path on children’s furniture. We had the Ban Xeo as we had a few weeks earlier however this was certainly more authentic. I think it was quite easily the best meal I had eaten so far in Vietnam. The lettuce and vegetables were so fresh I have no doubt they were in the ground only that morning. The others finished their meal with baby duck (I passed) before we got the bill, we ate enough to cetainly satisy however we all only owed 17,000VND each, so .80c AUD. INSANE!
Of course no meal is complete without desert. We walked a little further until we found a smoothie (SinTo) Bar. Maria and I shared a giant fruit salad, I only recognised ONE fruit in there. Awesome!
We walked back to the main street and caught the taxi back to Peace house. It was such a lovely night and I felt so special to be able to visit a local area.
This morning was very quiet, everyone was home so we all sat down stairs and shared our stories of the last few days. Turns out you can’t sell VND so I had to find a way to spend the money that I had left over (approx $50AUD) Que (One of the local volunteers) came over in the morning to make us Vietnamese coffee so I took him to the local market and told him he was to teach me how to cook a Vietnamese meal.
The market was hillarious, he did all the bartering, I can not even tell you what went into the meal - vegetable wise- as I did not recognise any of them apart from the ginger and tomatoes. We needed to buy fish and chicken, here I was worried about it not being fresh HA both were slaughtered right in front of me. No worries there! It was funny actually, we picked out the fish we wanted and she handed it to me still flapping about in the plastic bag. I handed it back to her with an obvious look of distress on my face as both her and Que cracked up laughing. She deboned and scaled the fish within seconds. The meal was wonderful. Ginger chicken with a fish and vegetable soup served with rice. The perfect way to end my trip. Que and I spent two hours cooking and we ate the meal with all my housemates.
I held it together when I left the house, I didn’t cry although some of my housemates did. I don’t think it will quite hit me until I get off the plane in Australia. Between Facebook, email and skype its not hard to stay in touch these days. I will admit however leaving Maria, Hien and Karly is breakig my heart, all are such beautiful and amazing women that I was instantly drawn too. I know, no matter what these special women will be in my life for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, Judith is also one of these amazing women however QLD is a lot closer than Switzerland, Spain or Canada!
So now I am in KL Airport waiting out my lay over. My 2nd glass of wine is going down very nicely. I will leave you for now and be in touch in the morning. While I am eating my Vegemite on toast!
Good night and sweet dreams! xx