Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Treats in One Day!

SATURDAY 10th September

Today was very unusual for a Saturday... I only had 2 morning classes, then the afternoon and evening free!  It was raining on and off all day, but when Mr Cuong came to pick me up at 11.45am I got him to follow Gene's taxi back to her place. She and Becki live in a house that is down a convoluted twist and turn of backstreets that you'd never find on a map... so I needed dear old Mr Cuong to know where to come and pick me up later!  Every couple of weeks, they have open house and invite their local friends over for pancakes for breakfast on Saturday. I did plan to walk over this morning, but it was way too wet. Anyway, Gene invited me to come over and join them for pancakes for lunch instead... so with no classes pending, that's what I did.

Their house is an upmarket version of ours... similar layout, but with a proper kitchen and two fabulous outdoor living/utility areas on the roof - one covered and one open to the sky. Everything is bigger and more open. This is the main room, with the kitchen in the back.
We were joined by a Philippino teacher from their last school, Bonali, and her husband and son.  Gene and Becki have three cats and an old dog who have travelled the world with them. One of the cats comes from Kazakhstan, where Becki taught several years ago.

We enjoyed an Amerian brunch of pancakes and maple syrup (and peanut butter) and yes, these two Americans really know how to make pancakes!

Mr Coung came and picked me up at 2pm and I went home for a lazy afternoon snoozing and blogging. And I got to talk to Rhonda Gray on skype, too... for an hour and a half... which seemed like 15 minutes!

This coming Monday is the date for the Mid Autumn Festival ... celebrated by giving Moon Cakes and watching Dragon dance troupes. In the lead up to the actual date the many nieghbourhood dragon dancers go around the streets banging huge drums and performing enthusiastically. It's a lot of fun. and my second treat for the day was to have Khanh come and pick me up to take me into the city to watch the Dragon dancers at the square in front of the Opera House.

Even though it rained all day, the rain stopped when he came to pick me up at 7.30... with these gorgeous flowers... He's such a gentleman...

We went to his favourite Chinese restaurant and had mỳ vằn thắn for dinner
... delicious

After I took this photo I handed my camera to the waitress, only to find the batteries were flat - Aargh!  So I have only happy memories of the evening... Such a festival atmosphere with crowds, traffic, noise and dragons everywhere. We watched them for a while, then went for a long ride over bridges to see the port of Hai Phong. The lights of the city looked beautiful from that vantage point.

It was a balmy night - perfect for a bike ride. Eventually we headed back to the cafe next to An Biển Lake that Mr Cuong had pointed out to me all those months ago as a good place for coffee and had a cuppa.  What a delightful way to spend a Saturday... Khanh is so thoughtful and such good company.

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