Sunday, October 9, 2011

Generous hospitality and a stunning home

SATURDAY 8th October

Today Trang Anh and little Linda came over again to pick me up. This time we picked Gene up from VAIE after the morning classes and headed to Mr Thanh's home for lunch. Ian was going to come, but he has come down with the flu, so he had to cancel, poor man. And Beki was invited, too, but she had to go to Hanoi. Mr Thanh's house must be seen to be believed. The table was laden with food, but while Mr Tanh heated up some more food in the kitchen..
 he asked Tran Anh to show us through the house...

We went up to the top floor to find two stunning gardens... the first one is for the grand-children

A magical little playground on the rooftop

and a tranquil garden for the grown-ups on the other side of the building
It even has a lawn!
Summer nights up here with the water feature bubbling and the breeze blowing and the lights and sounds of the city must be an amazing escape. The house is only a year old, so the gardens are very new. Give them a few years to settle in and they'll be amazing... everything grows so fast here.

The laundry balcony is on the next floor down
and another delightful entertaining area for drinking tea
with it's own little balcony.
This is Linda's bedroom (Linh-Linh)

cute grandchildren!

There are stunning artworks and sculptures throughout and each room is large and bright. Everywhere you look there is something to delight the eye.

Check out the detail on the faces in this painting!

We sat down to a banquet of Vietnamese food
The painting on the wall behind Gene is of the lake at Mr Thanh's grand-parents' village where his family evacuated to during the war. He lived there on the farm until peace came when he was 12 years old. It looks like a beautiful, tranquil place.

The food tastes just as good as it looks. 
After a very enjoyable lunch, we retired to the sitting room for coffee

At my request, Mr Thanh sang for us again, this time while I filmed him, but the video won't upload so you don't get to hear how beautifully he sings - sorry!

Vietnamese people love to sing and dance and are not as self-conscious as we are in the west. Young men, in particular, are no-where near as inhibited as their Western counterparts - especially when it comes to singing and dancing. Karaoke is very popular. I guess the lack of self-consciousness is partly because of the number of people here. It is quite normal for daily activities to be conducted on the pavement... men get a shave, their hair cut, ears and noses trimmed; women go through one another's hair with tweezers eradicating any signs of grey; everyone knows everyone else's business...
As we were leaving Mr Thanh gave Gene and I each a parting gift... one of the delightful folk statues that decorated his living room. I was stunned and delighted at this lovely man's boundless generosity
Mine is a farmer, and Gene's is a scholar... yep, we're both pretty chuffed!

Gene had to go back to work and I came home and had a quiet afternoon, evening relaxing, admiring my farmer ... don't mind retirement at all, even if it is temporary!
Check out my farmer...

How gorgeous is his face...
He even has a dimple!

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