Sunday, 31 January 2010

A Weekend in Hanoi

As the sun went down on Saturday night, we prepared ourselves for the onslaught of the party atmosphere here in Hanoi. In Vietnam they work jolly hard, but they play even harder, and Saturday night here is the new Saturday night... Needless to say, we lived life to the full!

We went to the 11 a.m. French Mass on Sunday morning at St. Joseph's Cathedral. Despite not knowing any of the music, we joined in lustily and sang our little hearts out: "Fait lever le soleil, notre terre attend l'aurore; fais lever le soleil, notre vie promet d'├ęclore!"
After all that singing and concentration (trying to understand French after not practising for so many years is NOT easy) we did the usual thing and sought some delicious grub! We walked past a bakery, and took two steps back as we were attracted to the chocolate tarts, brownies and pains au chocolat! Soon after scoffing, Simon started getting "drowsy" so we went on a mission critical search of Ca phe den (very, very strong black coffee). We had a cup in a petite, old fashioned corner shop where all the wooden tables and chairs were in miniature. It was just like being at primary school, actually. It was great to soak up all of the surrounding Vietnamese community, communicating in such an alien language!

Beautiful bunches of flowers like these are traditional components of major family occasions such as funerals and weddings. Seeing the women put these works of art together in the street makes us realise the time and effort required to make someone's day. As well as cut flowers being transported, we also saw a middle-aged chap nip by on his scooter with a whole orange tree that he must have dug up himself from somewhere!


  1. Love the pic of Hanoi at night, tell us more about it.

  2. Love the pic inside the Cathedral. Was there an added ingredient in the pastries, I wonder?

  3. Love the pic with the flowers! It sounds like a wonderful day/weekend! :)

  4. Lovely cathedral. Organ at the West end? I'm sure your French stood the test. We find that wherever we are in the world Mass is much the same, so easy enough to follow. We always find it strange in France though not to hear a choir when they have a good organ / organist. Usually some warbly old biddy giving it the works! I should know!!!!!!!!! xxx