Back where our adventure started, but different. Embedded amongst the chaos of the inner city, District 1, rather than the gentle District 7, with its Bentleys and French delicatessens. Here, in our apartment for the next ten days, we are surrounded by tattoo parlours, hooters and spots where drug use is tolerated.
Stairs wind up at the rear of a ‘coffee’ shop, between gaps left in the concrete pillars made for children. Each step a different size to the previous one. Landings between flights, broom cupboards and outdoor yards. Shoes are be left at the door!
Our studio apartment, on the top floor has a balcony garden with a gardenia adding its magic. A tiny shower room. Sort of kitchen. Bed on the loft landing, behind bamboo screens. A table for painting and a comfortable sitting area (adult size chairs and sofa). No wardrobe.
A quick, directed excursion in the humidity to find artist supplies took us past a laundry, a local market and what looked like a good food place. With assistance, we found the right ally and the fabulous Taipoz art shop. South Korean and Japanese professional grade paint to supplement what I have left. The wide range available ensuring that paint will not be a limitation in my time left here.
Phui, our new favourite spot. Iced beer (beer mug with an iceberg in it, any remaining space filled with beer), excellent Hanoi spring rolls and a fiery salad of prawns, cuttlefish and bamboo. Couldn’t do the pigeon embryo and testicles!
One of the horrors of traveling is finding, and the state of, toilets. Particularly at short notice when your system rebels at something you ate that it doesn’t agree with, or is simply a diabetic mess. Made worse with street food and the humidity in the tropics. In this regard, Vietnam should be top of everyone’s travel list, as the toilet and bathroom facilities are clean, plentiful and accessible. Phew!