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Out in Saigon

Saigon Post Office

So often I forget just how wonderful Saigon actually is… how many strange and curious sights i overlook because they just become part of the blur of daily life here. Not today though… or yesterday for that matter… Two of my most favourite people have arrived from England… Cat & Toby… this is there first trip to Asia and it is my opportunity to share with them some of the things I love most about the city.  We started off the day with a traditional Vietnamese breakfast… a hot spicy bowl of Pho… a delicious noodly soup that you can’t perfectly describe in words… the crunch of the beansprouts, the tang of chillies and limes all combined in one delicious mouthful of this delightful meal.

With bellies full and a good caffeine zing we ventured forth into Ben Thanh market… a place I usually avoid… as much because of the tourists as the locals… wandering through the cramped aisles piled high with fabric and food, a bag of freshly prepared jack fruit in hand… stopping to marvel at the weird and wonderful produce… it is quite special… even if a white face means you have to work incredibly hard to get a bargain!

Slowly strolling along the city streets we followed Le Loi down to Dong Khoi to the Opera House and then Notre Dame and my favourite building… the post office… just as stunning outside as inside… would be the perfect backdrop for a Poirot mystery to begin…

The heat is somewhat oppressive this time of year and instead of opting for a bottle of overpriced water on the street we went to NYDC for a delicious ice cold glass of Lemon Shiver… thirst quenching and fabulous for stabilising the core temperature of parched tourists…

Thumbs up for Lemon Shiver!

Onwards… this time to China Town… aniseed… the first thing that hits you is the pungent aroma of herbs and spices… huge sacks brimming with all kinds of oddities which will eventually be pulverised, mashed or ground into some truly foul smelling Chinese medicine…. we were content just to look…

....don't eat the mushrooms...

A walk through Cho Lon and into the haberdashery market before heading to Pham Ngu Lau… backpacker district… for another icy cold beverage… ca phe sua da… people watching and street hawker avoiding…

All the delicious sights and sounds and smells absorbed it is time to head home… only to refresh… dinner at the superb Quan An Ngon… over ordered again… but you just want to try everything!

Fresh rolls with shrimp barbequed on sugar cane

I love being a tourist where I live… It makes me appreciate how wonderful Saigon truly is… it may be prettier but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side…

Daisies at Quan An Ngon

21 months… nearly two years I have been a resident of Saigon and with only 89 days to go I discover an art class in Saigon… I have been looking… there are language courses… sports clubs… wine tasting… but no art… and now one has appeared… better late than never… you are looking at the newest student on the Expressive Mixed Media course specialising in experimental painting techniques and print making… Wow… not cheap at $255 dollars… but it will be amazing to learn from professional teachers rather than my current “botch up, trial then error” method plus it will also  get me through the remaining couple of months with something super to look forward to each week.

I can’t wait to get started… what will I do… will there be lots of lovely artsy folks… so excited!

…Here is one of my latest crafty fiddles…

Brown cord tote bag with felt lining and applique detail… commission piece for a friend… not my original design… based on an image found on a google image search… amazing what you can come up with if you type in I Heart Tea…

...Tea Bag...

As for the rest of the week… I have been breathing in toxic rainbows of acrylic spray paint… graffiti is harder than I imagined… but the finished results are kind of cool… will post a photo when completed!

Nearly the weekend chaps!

…Happy Easter all you lovely folks out there…

It’s that time of year again… 2/3 of the way throught the academic year and the Easter break is so close I can almost touch it… Absolutely exhausted and a super crazy amount of work to do before the school year is out.. However… I have started my chuff chart… 90 days to go folks until I quit Vietnam in favour of less sunny climbs…

…I have been a googlin’ … Berlin is fabulous city… one of my favourites… there is a plethora of gorgeous things… kaffee und kuchen… Sunday flea markets, clean fresh sunny parks… snow in winter and a reason to wear all the hats and scarves I have amassed over the years… Autumn… beer festivals, wine festivals, film, art, fashion and music festivals (and sport too apparently…)… Also Etsy… yay!

I just need to get all my stuff from here to there… find an apartment… learn all about how to teach big kids… brush up on my now shockingly bad Deutsch…

…I will do that later…

Right now I want to get through the week in one piece… amongst other things it is Environment Week at school and to quote the great Kermit… “it’s not that easy being green”

The Easter holidays bring lovely things from home… Cat and Tobes… i only get to keep them for two weeks… but we have great adventures planned…

…stay tuned to this station for our Asian odyssey…

… time for a nice cup of tea now…

Goodnight World

Hello World… A week of calamity, cooking, field trips, embroidery and glue gun burns… Following our field trip to visit the dinosaurs in Saigon’s Dam Sen Park in District 10 we found ourselves with a surfeit of bananas… when life hands you bunches of bananas what else is there to do but make Banana Crumble Muffins… the recipe is absolutely fabulous, especially the crunchy cinnamon crumble top and easy to make even if you are only 4!

Banana Muffiny Goodness!

...Om nom nom...

I have also started a couple of projects… a small patchwork piece of embroidery as part of a giant mural for the school Environment Week… every child and adult in the school will be creating a square that reflects what taking care of the environment means to us… with over 900 patches to put together it will be an immense task but will result in the most glorious piece of artwork!

Feather hairbands… shockingly expensive to buy but simple and cheap to make if you have a little patience, a glue gun and asbestos fingers… so off I went to one of my favourite places in Saigon… the haberdashery market… I have stocked up on beautiful natural pearls… i love the odd shapes that you find in imperfect pearls… also seemed to come home with a bag full of feathers, glitter, chenille sticks and felt…

Here goes… one hour  later and slightly singed finger tips… turned out quite nicely i think!

Feathers for my birds nest of hair!

Much to do today… finishing off a birthday present for a friend… no pictures until after her birthday though… don’t want to spoil the surprise! Perhaps I will use the last of the bananas and make banana bread this time… yes… i still have some left… perhaps I will just go and see Alice in Wonderland instead…

Have  lovely Sunday all!

Cakey Triumph!

Not wanting to disappoint my mother I thought best to whip up another batch of cupcakes… fluffy, sweet and light as opposed to molten, chewy and leaden… The proof is indeed in the pudding… the resulting tea time treat was delicious…Here you go Mom… photographic evidence that you raised and taught me well and I am not a total disaster in the kitchen!

It seems I have also unwittingly entered into a game of next door neighbour Top Trumps with the lovely Ant (queen of cake making i might add)… I borrowed her weighing scales and returned them with buns… she has since lent me her memory card reader so I think i have to return it with some sort of electrical item… I am hoping we can continue on this way a la One Red Paper Clip until one or both of us ends up with a house!

I have added a few more of my photographs to my blog too… have a look if you like… bright colours and black & white

…Time for a nice cup of tea and a bun I think…

Fluffy & Light

...om nom nom...

…Have a lovely cake & tea filled weekend everyone…

Exploding Rainbow cake…

We followed the instructions… to the letter… and KABLAMMO… as our little cupcakes were baking away in the oven something weird started to happen… they turned into some kind of molten chemical mess that looked a little like melted space crayons… About 5 minutes into the cooking process there was a pop and a splat and gooey ‘cake’ mix exploded all over the inside of the oven… um… why? I blame Vietnamese chemically food colouring personally… nothing to do with my skills as a domestic goddess whatsoever!

The result was a perfect disaster… they could be used as a weapon… some sort of Vietnamese fighting cupcake…

...Round 1 disaster...

Not one to be deterred by initial catastrophic buns, whilst the tiddlypeeps slept i whipped up another batch… fudged the recipe a bit and they turned out perfectly… not as bright… but frankly food should not resemble molten plastic or a brightly coloured asteroid!

These ones actually tasted delicious… light and fluffy and yummy…

Hurrah for food dye!

Yummy cake mix!

Ta Da!

Colour accented cupcake!

Finally… delicious cakey goodness…

:)

Paying customers!

I am not planning on giving up teaching, nor am i planning to spend every night and weekend hunched over pieces of fabric sewing until the light dims and my eyesight fades… however… I have been asked to make a few pieces for friends and I have actually sold one… I made the above… a door decoration… butterfly wreath? Call it what you will… a few hours spent with silk, pearls, ribbon and a glue gun and voila… a fancy knick knack for your apartment door…  I think it turned out quite sweet and simple…

I have made a few more…

https://livvly.wordpress.com/textiles/ribbons-buttons-and-all-the-pretty-things/

Now i have a few more kitschy stitches to whip up… With every piece I make i get just a little bit more inspired, creative and more accomplished… As with everything… practice makes perfect…

It certainly distracts from the daily grind… although admittedly today’s daily grind was mostly playing with lego, reading stories and building train tracks… and somehow i still managed to get covered in glitter… how does this happen?

Tomorrow in class we have another hard task… making rainbow cupcakes…

http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/rainbow_cupcakes

What could be more fun? Playing in the splash pool, reading Mr Pusskins and then baking fabulous rainbow cakes?

…Somedays I really love my job…