Saturday, May 22, 2010

A hot weather day

The first summer days in Hanoi is extremely hot: around 37 degrees. Terrible. On such hot days, nobody wants to work in non-airconditioned places. Yesterday I was exhausted. Staying at school until 3.20 pm. I wanted to go swimming when I got home, which helped me a lot.
When driving in Linh Dam, near home, a strong wind appeared. The first time I saw it: dust and litter and dried tree branches in the air. I could not go for a while. Then I thought if I did not try to get home (about 100m) I could have some incidents. So slowly driving home. I saw some motorbikes fell down on the ground. After parking my motorbike, I touched my neck, full of dust. Then it rained a bit for a short time.
Anyhow I decided to go swimming. The pool was not crowded. I made use of the opportunity to swim to the end of the pool, the deepest place 2.1m. 30 minutes in the pool was enough for me.
In the evening, I treated mysefl by sitting on the sofa watching a film starring Jodie Foster, action film, on cinemax. Not very nice film but I went to bed when it was over.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lunch with friends

Finally my friends and I chose a day to meet each other. Actually we are too busy and timing a lunch together is not always easy. After considering some restaurants I suggested Sen Ha Thanh, a buffet restaurant near Vincom. I booked a table for today in advance and as planned we got there on time, no a bit early.

It is always exciting to share time with people we like: talking, laughing and enjoying food. What is special today is in the early morning it rained heavily in Hanoi, Some roads were flooded and so was the road leading to our university. Luckily I have Saturday off. But it was not raining around noon. So we got to the rendez-vous dry. :-). And what is more special is a new friend was introduced at lunch. I think we had a good time together. At the end of the lunch, we agreed to meet again one Saturday.

The food in Sen is OK and the ambience is fine, a bit noisy at first. We enjoyed dishes and "explored" our new friend. We really had no problems communicating. We are friendly and have a good sense of hunour and are English-speaking. It must have been nicer if we had more time chatting. But teachers' lives are not easy. 1.30 pm was time to go making money again for some. We said 'goodbye' and 'see you again'.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another summer comes

Summer has come. In Hanoi, bang lang and phuong vi (flamboyants) have blossomed and ve (sicada) have sung, which are the signals of summer in Hanoi. For the last few days it has been so hot and humid. As a result, I suffered a light headache yesterday.
This morning I walked around Hoan Kiem Lake while waiting to pick up Bob. So many people here, walking and sweating. I feel so sorry for some foreign tourists, who visit Hanoi in summer. Their faces are red and sweat as if they were having a sauna.

I walked past the statue of a happy family. This statue once broke. Now it has been fixed. I had my photo taken behind it, a bit different from the last time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jacaranda

A friend of mine had a business trip to Nepal and stayed in a hotel in the capital. The hotel looks like a resort with a lot of beautiful trees and plants. I saw its website and found out such beautiful blossoming trees with purple flowers (I called vilolet). I asked my friend to take a photo of the trees for me and thanks to the internet I got the picture quickly stored in my laptop. But at first I did not know the name of the tree and unexpectedly my friend told me it was called jacaranda. (Unexpectedly because when we are in a foreign country, difficult for us to know the name of unfamiliar trees and flowers). And thanks again the internet, it took me a few seconds to see so many pictures of jacaranda flowers and now I know that this tree is popular in South America (especially Brazil), Central America, Mexico and the Carribean and you can see it in Australia, India and Buhtan as well and in Vietnam they grow jacaranda in Da Lat (they call it phuong tim). In many parts of the world, such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Lisbon, and Zimbabwe the blooming of this tree is welcomed as a sign of spring. But it Vietnam as a sign of summer.

I visited en.Wikipedia and wanted to cite the following information:

Pretoria in South Africa is popularly known as The Jacaranda City due to the enormous number of Jacaranda trees planted as street trees and in parks and gardens. In flowering time the city appears blue/purple in colour when seen from the nearby hills because of all the Jacaranda trees. The time of year the Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria coincides with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria and legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams. Other towns and cities in South Africa have Jacaranda trees, but none produce such a show as that of Pretoria.
The city of Ipswich, Australia has a local reputation of having a significant population of Jacaranda trees. The University of Queensland in the city's inner west has a very high concentration of the tree, and due to the impressive display of purple flowers in mid-Spring, which wind up littering vast sections of the suburbs, local folklore claims that "one won't start studying for exams until the jacarandas have moulted". At Sydney University there exists a similar expression "by the time the jacaranda in the main quadrangle flowers, it's too late to start studying for exams".
This has led to the slang name "exam tree" or "purple panic" being attached to the plant. At the University of Queensland students even maintain a joke superstition that if a Jacaranda bloom falls on their head during exam time, they will fail an exam. The bad luck can be broken by catching another bloom before it hits the ground.


Interesting, isn't it? I also found in the internet a sad poem in Vietnamese about young lovers. How romantic to walk under purple jacanda trees with our beloved. I am not a poet but still feel the beauty of jacaranda, something fragile, dreaming, sad, lonely ...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bob's reading habit

Like other children my son is extremely interested in reading comics and children's books. I bought for him so many. His favorite books are collections of Doremon and Conan Detective.
He reads everywhere he can: on the floor, in bed, on sofa, and even in the toilet when he poos. :-) So funny. Believe or not, whenever he holds a book and runs in the flat I know for sure that he wants to poo. He reads whenever he can: after getting home from school, after doing homework, before going to bed etc.

Recently I have bought for him 7 volumes of Harry Potter. Hot books. Honestly, I have no time to read them and I am a bit discouraged because they are so thick. I heard they are interesting and suit my son's age. That is why I bought them for him. I am afraid that when he grows up a bit more, they do not appeal to him any more. At first, I thought he was not fond of them. He had never been interested in long stories without pictures. I was wrong. He spent time reading Harry and so far 5 volumes covered.
I promise to buy Greek ancient stories as soon as he finishes Harry Potter.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Family gathering

Gathering at our mum's place seems to be our family's culture. We regard it as a place to celebrate special family events. There is often a reunion of 4 generations. I think my mum is the happiest person whenever we arrive.
On Friday we gathered again to celebrate the Victory Day and Labour Day and to see my brother-in-law living in Saigon off. He was in the North for nearly a week. We had dinner together. My second sister was responsible for preparing ingredients. My sisters and sisters-in-law and I cooked. Happy time. It was also when we shared our stories. I was informed of my first sister-in-law's breast minor operation. I also experienced it about 13 years ago, 1997, and my second brother just got a certification of a short training course on Party. He is a potential Party member, following my father's step.
This photo was taken when we went downstairs to the motorbike. I was carrying some used clothes to give my sisters-in-law, who are more or less the same age and same size as mine.