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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 69: Uncle Ho and the Egg Coffee

Okay, riddle me this one. Who thought 'Hey, let's get an egg white and whip it up as if we were making meringue, with a bit of sugar, but, just to be a bit different, let's put it on top of black coffee and serve it as a beverage'? It's not just me, is it? That is a little bit of an odd thing to come up with. I'm guessing it is not for everyone, but it was strangely yummy, like a liquid, coffee flavoured, lemon meringue pie with no lemon. I am not sure we have worked out what an actual Vietnamese coffee is yet. I was so excited at the prospect of visiting an Asian country with a coffee culture (they don't always go hand in hand, and culture shock and caffeine withdrawal, simultaneously, is not good for my constitution). Every time we order 'Vietnamese' coffee though, we get something different. It is an adventure. We had read about the egg one—caphe trung da—and so I dragged V—— out for one in a cafe close to our hotel where they recommended ordering and taking your items before ascending the rickety spiral staircase to the rooftop terrace overlooking the lake and the bustling, beeping traffic. In order to reach the cafe you walked through the silk shop and up the stairs. In my excitement I lead poor V—— up the wrong set of stairs to a cafe that smelled suspiciously of hooch and looked suspiciously like an opium den. The bar was basic, the coffee fetched from the fridge and microwaved. And when I asked to go upstairs we ended up in a hot dark room with no windows which really looked like an opium den, with cushions spread over the floor. It was about this time that I realised a mistake I had made when trying to work out where the silk shop was in the first place—there were two coffee shops in the building. We had taken the wrong set of stairs. So we madly consumed the microwaved coffee, climbed down the stairs, went to the right coffee shop, ordered egg coffee, which was language-difficulty mimed with the aid of an avocado. Don't ask, I have no idea? And climbed the right rickety staircase to the lake view. And all that just for the coffee part of the journey!


Stairs seemed to have figured significantly in our day. We solemnly and silently climbed a red carpeted set of stairs, two by two, at the end of a kilometre long queue (our guide did manage to fast track us through the majority of the kilometre though) into the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. The guards in white with their voiceless instructions and austere demeanours, and the thick air of reverence from the Vietnamese people made it a disquietening and alien experience, but fascinating at the same time. Then there was a bannister-less set of skinny steps into a traditional stilt house that had my nerves jangling already before the terrifying walk over bamboo floors in the house itself. I cannot believe thin bamboo layers on thin bamboo poles can hold my weight, and I walked crab-like across the floor you can sort of see, with all the light coming through it, in the picture there. Despite that episode I joyfully yes-ed the idea of climbing onto the terrace of a communal hut, about five meters off the ground, on what was effectively steps carved into a tree trunk and positioned against the terrace as an eighty-six degree angle. It seemed like a good idea until you stood on the edge to come down again and realised how high five meteres off the ground is. It was a full, full day. My brain has been spueezed (as I saw orange juice described on a menu board today) to bursting with information. Tomorrow we head out to Halong Bay. I am guessing the Internet may not be an option so if you don't hear from me, I will be back with my boring styling and my exciting holiday imminently.


Irene's Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Shorts: Op-shopped


List_Addict's Outfit and Distractions
Shirt: Target
Skirt: Op-shopped
Shoes: Teva
Photos (clockwise from top left): Eggy coffee; embroidered skirts at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology; me in a Tay Stilt house hoping like he'll the floor isn't about to collapse; lanterns and paper wishes for sale on Paper Street in Hanoi Old Quarter


Who wore it better? Linky, but not necessarily stylishly so, today with:

1 comment:

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