[Note: video link to the left] Today’s class went as well as the one earlier in the week, though it was a little harder as I had no translator. Given that my Vietnamese is next to non-existant this should have posed a problem, but the kids were really quick on the uptake. One of them even took it upon himself to help one of the others who wasn’t "getting" things as fast. The only downside is that while I could show then how to do things, I couldn’t explain why they should be doing them.
Nevertheless, I left feeling like I’d achieved something and the kids left with smiles and handshakes.
I made my way home by the usual "sit on the back of a bike and pray" method as we weaved between other vehicles and dodged cyclos, their drivers crying "yoo hoo" and ringing bells like they were John Inman auditioning for his part in a Campanology’s Greatest Hits album. Quite a few people had arrived at the hostel, and the place was buzzing. A few more arrived, several of them drenched, as the heavens opened around sundown.
At one point, the water in the street was nearly two inches deep and visibly flowing. Vietnamese kids splashed about in it and bikes "splooshed" past carrying riders swathed in plastic. I saw one with a very small child just visible through the poncho behind the handlebars.
Eventually the deluge eased and Neil and I popped up to the Pho Shop for some… well. Pho. Neil decided he wanted to try somethign different on the menu so we got a dish that cost an extra 3000d each. And which looked and tasted exactly the same as what I usually have. Never mind – it’s still damn tasty.
I had intended to go to the Water Puppet show, but between the weather and discovering that you really need to get tickets in advance, I decided to leave that till the next day. Instead, as it was Neil’s last night, we headed out for some beer. For a change.
Joining us was Eamonn who had arrived in the downpour. As his name (and broad Cork accent) suggest, he’s German. Well, he’s as german as a Lederhosen-wearing Bradwurst soaked in Guinness with a Leprechaun’s hat on it’s head. His mother is German and his father is Irish, though he was born and raised in Hamburg.
As is tradition, we decided to take him to Bia Hoi first of all and, like everyone so far this week, he didn’t like it. His complaint was that it "tastes of peanuts". Yeesh. We had a couple there, then walked down to Funky Monkey, a bar on the same street as Hole in the Wall. It’s a lot louder, has a DJ and plays annoyingly loud dance music. However, they sell Heineken on draft at a reasonable price so it wasn’t all a dead loss.
I ended up with a staggeringly (literally) drunk Los Angelesian telling me how much he loved our Newcastle Ale. He apparently buys it a lot and it’s available in several bars near where he lives.
We only stayed for a couple of pints, then headed back to the hostel and up onto the roof. Hans (who isn’t German – he’s the Mauritian who lives in China), his travelling partner (American citizen, Chinese heritage) and a couple of others were up there. We had a chat and a few more beers then retired for the evening, somewhat sozzled.