This morning Hannah wanted to go to my dentist and get her teeth cleaned, so she walked over to my place so I could go with her and babysit Sam. As soon as she got to my gate she was surrounded by neighbours wanting to see Sam up close. Everyone here is fascinated by his hair, his skin, his size... He's 14 months old and way bigger than the averge 14 month old Vietnamese baby and has the most beautiful blonde curls. These ladies are some of the nuns who live next door.
Xuân came with me and we meandered through the neighbourhood and places I hadn't seen before. Fascinating. Sam was as good as gold and after a while he fell asleep.
By then we were in a wealthy sector and I finally saw craftsmen working the detailed frescos that decorate traditional French colonial style houses here...
The design is sketched on, then worked up in a very dry concrete mix.
Anyway, after we gave Sam back to Hannah, Xuân and I walked to Sáng and Trung's place. To get there we followed a narrow alley that twisted and turned. There is no way I could have found it by myself. Sáng had invited us for a hotpot lunch... brilliant! Sáng and his brother prepared the stock, meats and vegetables in their tiny kitchen. With such limited bench space, the bulky vegetables were prepared on the floor... Vietnamese people are amazingly good at squatting... many, many activities are done on the floor.
Four young men live here. There is one main room and a small low ceiling'd mezzanine floor for a second bed up the ladder-stairs, and a small wet area for kitchen and bathroom activities.
Trung Ho cranked up the sound system and we listened to great music while Sáng slaved away in the kitchen. Then they told me Tiên Viên lived there too, so we went down the narrow path along the side of the building down to Tiên's room and took him by surprise. His room was pretty spartan. We didn't visit for long because he had to leave for classes, but he came over to Sáng's before he got ready to go.
This is Trung's brother (a hairdresser), Trung, Sáng and Tiên.
And finally, lunch was all ready... Chicken, pork, beef, tofu, clams, mushrooms and vegetables...
And I'm delighted to report that Sáng's Hotpot is far, far better than any I've had in a restaurant.
We ate and ate and ate....
... until finally everyone was full. So very delicious!!!
Then it was time to go home and have a nap before evening classes, so Sáng gave me a ride home. Talk about spoilt!!!
Trung Ho, Trung, Sáng and Xuân.