Even this early, Ha Noi is industrious. In front of me. Right in front of me. If I could freeze-frame, it would be this:
Curls of breath and curls of still-hot teapot smoke entangle copying the curls in her hair.
She has already been up to groom herself before making and drinking tea.
Effort and flinging.
Low morning light catches the arch of water emerging from a cloud of steam in the pot.
The thick-headed snake dissipates like icicles dripping from a bowing branch. Melting.
A giant insect wing complete with iridescence. A water wing.
Water almost to the ground but not until she turns the pot upside down for another shake and a thud.
With reflexes slowed by observation, I step in something squishy as the woman has already turned and returned.
I am connected to this woman by the tea leaves stuck to my foot. They will come all the way to the station with me, possibly to Sapa, while the rest remain steaming in the street for a feral dog to sniff.
I really wish I was in Saigon right now. I want to go to my favourite coffee spot and pho shop. I want to drive round past the cathedral on a Sunday on my Honda Wave, and I want to go shopping in my favourite vegetable market.
Ever since someone made a comment here about my time in Vietnam I’ve been really pining for those days. By sheer coincidence, I noticed a little file on my computer marked “Vietnam”. Hmm!? We lived there before I started blogging and way before I had a digital camera or even this hard drive that my photos are kept on, so I thought all the photos were in slide form. But we must’ve had some put on disc and at some point I uploaded them. I’ve spent an entire Saturday morning reminiscing about those days. I would love to go back there although I think I’d try living in Ha Noi rather than Ho Chi Minh City, just to get a different perspective. Ha Noi, you are calling me!
Banh mi are those lovely sandwiches you get on the street in Vietnam that cross from east to west. Lovely crisp French bread stuffed with more Asian style meats, pickles, herbs and vegetables combine to please the palette.
The trick is, if you can’t get a baguette that is COMPLETELY fresh and crispy, you have to sprinkle it with water and put it in the oven until it becomes crisp (but before it becomes toasted!).
My filling here is tuna (tinned) with chopped chili and lemongrass, plus a little bit of mayo or sesame oil. Homemade Vietnamese pickles since I’ve never been able to find them to buy, and fresh coriander/cilantro.
If you wanted meat, you could just use any leftover roast (esp pork), or luncheon meat. The food-stalls in Vietnam always have some kind of mystery meat or a mystery homemade pate/compressed meat kind of thing which is popular. Bon appetite!