Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday 5th March

We purchased a number of cute quilts from a French-run NGO - due to the cheap labour rates anything which is labour intensive is ridiculously cheap by western standards. A number of silk shops were also visited. We then walked out to the Temple of Literature, a thousand year old centre of learning (Oxbridge eat your heart out!). The temple comprised of five courtyards in series, one with the "Pool of Heavenly Clarity", a rather dirty pond, and another with stone tablets carved with the names of graduands each sat on the back of a giant tortoise. Much of the teaching was based on Confucius, although it is mostly used now for annual ceremonies by handicraft guilds.

Later we walked back through Hanoi via Fanny's Ice Cream Parlour (possibly the best ice cream in the world according to "an expert") - they even have an all you can eat ice cream buffet. Afterwards we sat alongside the lake in Hanoi where we saw them testing the water. You really don't want to know what's in there!

In the evening we met up with Thomas and Miryam, a French / Spanish couple who live in Germany, whom we met earlier in Vietnam. It was nice to talk to someone without resorting to pigeon English.

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