Happy Labor Day everyone!
Today and tomorrow I get off from work, which means I get to spend some time exploring Hanoi and all the cool activities it has to offer.
On Sunday, I was planning on going to the Perfume Pagoda for the day, but ended up with a nasty stomach bug instead (note to self – always peel the apples here before eating them). The Perfume Pagoda is located within the Huong Tich mountains and is home to some of Vietnam’s most auspicious Buddhist temples. Many pilgrims travel from far and wide to pray within the temples. It is said to be a very spiritual journey, so I definitely want to put time aside one day to visit.
I instead spent my Sunday watching series and relaxing at home. I had worked a long shift at school on Saturday so I was pretty tired anyway. Today, however, was a little more exciting. Andoni, Jess, and I took a trip out to Bát Tràng. After living here for almost two months, I still cannot get over the manner in which people drive. There are no lanes or rules. You just drive and pray that no one swerves into you. And if someone does cut you off, there is no swearing or fingers being thrown into the air. You just accept your fate and carry on as you were.
Bát Tràng is a village just 30 minutes from the city centre, known for its beautiful pottery and ceramics. Translated from Vietnamese, “bát” literally means “bowl” and “tràng” means “workshop”. There must be hundreds of little stores in the village selling charming tea sets, platters, ornaments, vases – basically everything you could think of. We bought a stunning teapot for the house as well as a wooden vase.
Jess and I were feeling a little creative, so we ended up making our own ‘bowls’ (I use this term loosely) from scratch. The instructors quietly giggled to themselves as they demonstrated again and again how to use the spinning wheel to mould something – anything. I eventually ended up with a wonky shaped dish and Jess the same. Once they had set, we painted our grand creations and ordered them to be glazed – although I’m not sure why, I don’t even know what I’m going to do with the thing.
With souvenirs in tow and a nasty tshirt tan, we headed back home for food. We have since been spending the evening relaxing and trying not to overheat. Tomorrow I want to get in a good gym session to work off some of the junk I’ve been eating, and then maybe I’ll do some shopping (with what money I don’t know). I only get paid on the 10th of each month so I’m still waiting on that cash dollar.