Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Volunteering In Vietnam Week 3

Having had an eventful 2 weeks in Vietnam so far, we were eager to find out what random places week 3 would take us to! 

First stop, Bat Trang Pottery Village. This was literally a village of pottery on the outskirts of Hanoi. A couple of our students fancied showing us around, and what a great day out it was. Firstly we tried our hand in some pottery making/moulding/destruction, after a quick lesson from a show off local! He had 'skills to pay the bills', seemingly moulding anything he wished at ease, without looking, with one hand. For us, this was more like a scene from 'Dumb and Dumber' than anything resembling the film 'Ghost'! 

After painting our perfectly moulded wine glasses (that we had 'no' help with at all) we set about perusing the rest of the village and finally resting next to a nice big bowl of Bun Cha. 

Bat Trang was a nice day away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, and the seemingly effortless skill of the craftspeople was actually really fascinating! 

The next day in between teaching English and teaching swimming, we found some time to prepare 40 home made spring rolls. Luckily, our students took us to the market for the ingredients and we were amazed at how little we paid. The whole batch did not cost any more than £2!! Unbelievable scenes... 

Standby for our expert Spring Roll making when we return. Sadly, I can't see Tesco being as generous with their pricing, or open to as much haggling... We'll see! 

This had been a pretty great start to our week. Perhaps most excitingly, Emma had learnt (from Tuay) how to do some sort of crazy hair construction. I'm reliably informed that its called a fish-tail plait. As you can tell I'm over the moon with this development, maybe ill grow my hair. :P

We were really starting to settle in to living in Hanoi by this point, and the city became less of a tourist attraction and stop over, and more of a home. The natural progression from this was to scope out the nearest Cinema! As a bonus, we were pleasantly surprised to learn of the £2-3 price tag for 'Iron Man 3'. Not only is this very cheap by our standards, but it is also economically rational to watch as many films as possible in Hanoi before returning to the UK!! 'Olympus has Fallen' followed shortly. 

Parking our motorbike outside of the cinema, the 'parking attendant'/man sitting on the curb tried to charge us 20,000 VND (60p) for the day. Pah! He must have thought we were tourists! After handing over the correct 5000 VND (16p) we walked away very happy at not being ripped off for once. It was such a great decision to volunteer! 

As you can imagine, whilst we have been in Hanoi, we have sampled a plethora of local delights. Bun Bo Nam Bo, Bun Cha, and Mien Tron rate highly, but what we had on the next day that week hit rock bottom, and hit it hard. The name is still unclear (we think 'Bun Bo Hue') and so are its contents. Our friend Kwa, and her friend were reluctant to give away the details. Pigs trotter we worked out for ourselves ("it tastes like feet!"), and congealed lumps of chicken blood they helped us with. We figured that if they told us that one, there were much more questionable ingredients in there too! They found it hilarious that we wouldn't eat Chicken Blood. :| in theory, we would eat most things, but you should have seen it!! 

Other highlights from week 3 include a visit to the HCM Mausoleum, and the leaders old house and grounds. We also got invited to a local teams football training. We weren't exactly the Wayne Rooney's they were expecting but I think we held our own. It was a great experience, and I may have broken my toe, but that will fix! Hopefully in time for some dancing at my brothers wedding in June! 

Over and out for now. Enjoy some photos.