-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Terry’s Vietnam – Accidental tourists and a seemingly dodgy address

‘The Cooks Shrine’

29cmx21cm Acrylic on 300 gram paper

I love walking through the fresh street market, especially outside the bakery, where the scent of fresh bread is rich with lime and coriander, lemongrass and spring onion from the bamboo baskets of the women on the curb. A fragrant start to the morning, even in the rain.

On our day of departure from Hoi An, there was the prettiest monkeys wedding outside and bonsai shadows on our coffee table. It made me realise that in three weeks, I’ve only needed my sunglasses once!

During the typhoon, when the waters reached the entrance to our hotel, I woke up in the night wondering if I shouldn’t have gone to bed in my clothes – in case we were evacuated in the middle of the night, a precaution I had taken during the Knysna fires. In the end it wasn’t necessary but a similar sense of urgency (emergency ?) haunted me.

And now we’re settled in our apartment in Ho Chi Minh City with my dry goods shopping unpacked – the fish sauce and rice paper, soy sauce and rice wine to add to the shelf of green tea and sugar. All basics in a Vietnamese home kitchen. I’ll shop the fresh market tomorrow.

Today we still have menu options to explore at our new favourite street corner eatery(read English speaking waitress). We lunched there yesterday on bamboo and cuttlefish salad (tangy and delish). Breakfast this morning was Pho – beef noodle broth and bamboo shoots. As my perpetually hungry husband says ‘a hell of a lot effort for very little return’. The kindergarten sized chairs and tables don’t help, but the food is fresh, and tasty. 

It was with huge trepidation that I waited for our Airbnb host to meet us outside the designated coffee shop yesterday. Apart from the busy traffic circle, the coffee shop was filled with men dressed mostly in black, smoking. The signage on the building advertised Little Bangkok on one floor, and a VD Clinic on another.

A few minutes past eleven our young landlady led us up 67 stairs scented alternatively with, cigarette smoke and green tea. In places the stairwell was so low that even my shoulders caught the ceiling. I think I held my breath all the way to the red door-mat on the third floor.

Our apartment is compact and comfortable, with a decadent couch for reading and lounging on, a fridge stocked with ice, and a double volume living area open to a loft-balconied-bedroom. And we have a breezy rooftop balcony way above the traffic. Jan chose well. 

Plus, there’s lots of natural light for our traveling Painterman

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.

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