Friday 16 June 2023

Train street

Brekkie just before nine again. Two fried eggs again. This time over easy. And more fruit for afters. Mikey has a tea bag for me again so I can have proper tea.

It’s amazing what a difference a proper cup of tea makes to the start of the day. Well, two cups. The bag is strong and the cups are small. Two cups from one bag is no stretch.

Mikey has an English breakfast again. Without bacon and with an extra egg. Not impressed with the bacon here, either of us.

When we’ve polished off the eggs and shit, the waiter asks if we want anything more. It seems we can order as many items off the menu as we want. Which is pretty cool.

I’ve eaten two breakfasts in the past. When I lived in Leeds. We went to café where the breakfast was a bit too small for me. I often ordered a second. Unbelievable that I was a skinny bastard back then. How long ago was that? The café had a Space Invaders machine. Which was all the rage at the time.

We head off on a wander. First task is to change a little dosh as I don’t have quite enough dongs. Or knobs as Alexei would call them.

Spotting a T-shirt shop, I remember that I haven’t got both the kids something. And I remember how much they liked the Pablo Escobar shirts I got them in Columbia. I buy one that’s basically the Vietnamese flag and another that’s a map of the country. Hopefully they like them. The ungrateful little gits.

After a while we stumble across the lake again. We start walking up it and spot a pub. But it's far too pricey. Eventually, we hit the same lakeside terrace as yesterday. I go for mojitos this time. I can do with a long, cold drink. It's effing hot again. But bearable in the shade with an icy cocktail.

I notice someone fishing in the lake. Just throwing out a line by hand.

"It must be reasonably clean, if there are fish in it." Mikey says.

"I suppose so. Or they all have three eyes or two heads."

On the way back to the hotel, I drop by a supermarket. For vodka and fruit. Just the essentials.

“Are you getting more of that fake vodka?”

Mikey wasn’t impressed yesterday when he saw it was only 29.9% ABV.

“I’m getting a different brand today.”

“Is it any stronger?”

“Er, no.”

“Why are you bothering? Don’t they have anything stronger?”

“Yes, they do. But the vodka is dirt cheap.”

“You’re such a cheapskate, Ronald.”

After a while chilling, it's time for lunch. There's a place, Bách Phương, just at the other end of the alley. Which is lined by little hole in the wall shops. Literally holes in the wall. Most are food shops whose owners seem to be having a siesta, blankets covering their wares. While they slumber behind them.

I thought there was just an extract of their menu on the web. But they really do only have two dishes: beef noodle salad and chicken stew. I opt for the former, Mikey the latter. A good choice on my part as it's really nice. While Mikey's is a lump of boiled chicken in a weedy-looking broth. With just chopsticks and a spoon to eat it with. He doesn't really manage any.

We head back to the hotel to chill. Literally. It's still effing hot. I couldn't survive without the odd nip back into air-conditioned bearability.

This evening's plan is train street. Mikey walks off there alone after getting fed up waiting for me downstairs at the bánh mi place. So I get a taxi. He's a bit of a way down the street. But I soon spot him. It\s impressively narrow to have a train run down it.

I'm on mojitos again. After a while, there's a bit of a commotion. Something is coming. Though no trains are scheduled for hours. Turns out it's a locomotive being moved. It passes impressively close by our seats.

Mikey is getting hungry. We head back to the area around the hotel. Where we settle on a fairly random restaurant, Thủy - Ngan cháy tỏi.

"Look, Mikey, they've got fried swan."

“Great. But I want noodle soup.”

I order the swan. A small one. Mikey goes for a chicken noodle soup. Of course. I choose the smallest swan option. No way I could eat a whole swan. Surprisingly, there's still a pile of food. Noodles, soup, pickled ginger, green stuff. More than I can eat. Not sure about it being swan. There's a wing which is about 30 times too small for a swan. And just right for a chicken.

After eating, we go to New Gentry. Mikey for cheap beer. Me for a Thon Dantes Inferno, the Belgian Quadrupel again. Full of alcoholy goodness.

I only stay for the one. I have to be up at 5:30 tomorrow. Wish me luck.

A watery vodka nightcap again. Oh, the horror. Maybe as well, given the earliness of my start tomorrow.

Bách Phương - Bún Bò Nam Bộ
73-75 Hàng Điếu,
Cửa Đông,
Hoàn Kiếm,
Hà Nội.

Thủy - Ngan cháy tỏi
76 P. Bát Sứ,
Hàng Bồ,
Hoàn Kiếm,
Hà Nội.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is mad a railway line running through a neighbourhood.