Monday, 31 January 2011

3 September 2001

When I got up I went for a stroll along the street and spotted a crown of people round a roadside Pho stall. took a seat and before long I recieved a china bowl full of clear beef stock, spring onions and noodles toppe with sliced beef. The child sat next to me had a raw egg cracked into his.

Everyone had to go into Frontier House to check the kit but it only took half an hour then we were back on the street. I took a cycle to the lake to change dollars but he bank was closed so I changed them with a woman on the street. I got talking to a Vietnamese man who introduced himself as an English student and offered to show me round to practice his English. We went to the temple in the middle of the lake (linked by a footbride), which as a giant stuffed turtle though they claim an even bigger one was sighted in 2000.

Then it was off on the back of my new guides motorbike right out past Ho Chi minh's mausoleum and West Lake. It was well scary shooting along in that traffic protected only by a borrowed motorbike helmet and my ability to hold onto a metal bar behind me.

About 3 we stopped at a snake restaurant where they killed one for us and we ate it in seven different dishes with rice and a kind of crispbread. The place itself was well done out but was on a dusty backstreet where the neighbours lived in their one room shops. I was persuaded to try xeo mixed with snake blood, "make you strong". The meal turned out to be very expensive, which may have been part of the scam but I decided it was worth it for the experience.

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