Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vĩnh Bảo and Tô Hải !!

On Saturday afternoon, Tiên and Hoàng Thảo picked me up to go to the bus station so Thảo and I could catch the bus to Tiên's Thảo's home town, Vĩnh Bảo. It was very slow getting out of the city with many stops and the journey took a couple of hours...fine for me, but poor Thảo is like many Vietnamese people and suffers from car-sickness. So she was very glad to get off the bus at Vĩnh Bảo. Tien had ridden ahead of us and was waiting when we got there. 

Tiên's Thảo joined us soon after and we went to her home.  Her parents are really lovely and welcomed us warmly. Her little brother, Dang, has been practicing his English, but was too shy to talk to me at first. He is 8, but seems so much younger than Bailey, who is also 8!

We enjoyed a delicious feast for dinner with Thảo's family, and after dinner, we went for a walk and visited her Uncle and Aunt's home nearby.

Tiên rode home to his village and Hoàng Thảo and I stayed with Thảo's family. In the morning we enjoyed a good look ...first the pigs next door that had woken us up

Then we checked out Thảo's family garden...I would so love to be able to grow vegies like they all do here!

Then we three girls walked along this path between the rice paddies to the village in the distance to go and get breakfast.

That's Thảo's home

I was quite a novelty and caused a fair bit of comment at breakfast.



Everything grows lush and healthy.

Tiên came over and we went sight-seeing... Dang perched between the two  Thảos, and me on behind Tiên.

We spent the morning exploring Đền thờ Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, the massive complex dedicated to their sage from the sixteenth century.

We stopped for an ice-cream during a heavy downpour...

Back to Thảo's home to say goodbye's and thank you's... such a lovely family!

We then rode to Tiên's home town, Tô Hải.... about an hour away. It was delightful to meet with his family again, and they greeted me like a long lost friend.... so beautiful!  We arrived in time for lunch...and Tiên's family are brilliant cooks

After the feasting comes the customary after lunch nap... easy to nap for an hour or so while the whole village goes quiet.

When we woke I stepped out onto the balcony to admire the view and I was spotted by these local kids, who were very excited...

Tiên's extended family had gathered today to celebrate the anniversary of his grandmother's death, so we were invited to delay our departure and stay for the evening meal. Consequently, we had a relaxed afternoon while Tiên had some quality time with his larger family, and I took lots of photos.

Amid this sumptuous feast, the frog dish was my absolute favourite...


Tiên's uncle and aunt.

They pressed us to stay, but the others all had commitments back in Hải Phòng  so we said our farewells and rode back to Vĩnh Bảo. This time I insisted that I catch the bus on my own so Hoàng Thảo could ride pillion with
Tiên, thus avoiding another bout of car-sickness.

Tiên followed me to the bus station to escort me the last hundred metres back to the Hotel and make sure I got home safely...such a gentleman.  I had such a lovely weekend meeting new friends and renewing dear acquaintances.


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