Fiery Flamenco, Cool Jazz, Hot Hanoi.

Now Hanoi is just plain showing off, (and nobody is supposed to like a show off), but we L-O-V-E this bold, bitching, stylish, sophisticated city.

A dreamy browse through an excellent second-hand bookshop, then a  Phô Ga (chicken noodle soup with a Master’s Degree in exotic deliciousness).






with chirping songbirds in cages and inquisitive Yoda-dog (he’d never seen ferenghis before).

Billy had a handful of chillis and pickled garlic with his phô which seemed, at first, to be very mild.  Very mild I say.  But, dear reader, you guessed it, within ten minutes he was sweating like a piece of cheese at an open air market. His face turned fire engine red and began to glow and he to babble (just slightly more than usual) claiming that some fiend had strapped a red hot clamp onto his head.  He was only seconds away from consigning his soul to Sweet Baby Jesus and asking me to perform final unction when the fever abated.


Onto a groovy art Café, Manzi, hipster Central with minimalist art and Vietnamese haikus ,




then after a trek in the tropic swelter an afternoon coffee at Hanoi Home, a secret Café in the courtyard of the Cathedral, up the stairs, past the washing, turn into a darkened corridor, walk through the closed door no entry sign- where we gratefully  reclined and encountered some baby photographers who for some bizarre oriental reason known only to them  seemed to think  the geriatric couple cute enough to photograph.  I said to Billy we have to check they’re not doing a spread on adult nappies.  Certainly we are often guilty (as you long suffering readers know) of verbal  incontinence, could this be a new and exciting career opportunity for us ?

Trotted up the lake to the French Quarter, mingling in the Hanoi Saturday night passagiato with the surreal sight of kids in tiny tiny remote controlled cars zipping past, to an amazing world-class guitar and flamenco dance concert (free at the French Institute).  It was breath-taking.


The artistes were Father and Daughter Michel Grizard and Helena Cueto.  He played like an fluttering angel, she danced like a possessed demon and we caught in between could only sigh and gasp.


A  few steps down the street, wove our way through the swaying traffic, ducked behind the Opera House


for a nightcap at Binh Minh, the Hanoi jazz boite, where very young Jazz musos  played fairly faithful and mostly in tune versions of the canon.  Saigon beer for $5 (instead of the usual $1.)






a walk by the lake (again) and home James, don’t spare the horses.

It’s exhausting this travelling.

I tried to sleep in this morning but the breakfast lady insisted Bill bring down a huge fruit Platter which I ate whilst admiring the view from our bedroom.



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