Monday, 5 January 2015

Farewell to Fluffy (AKA White Cat)

A very happy white cat with 'mum' Jen after their return

Well Jen and Jody are back, our bags are almost packed and White Cat is very confused. We went out yesterday to the bookshop, we went with five books and came back with two, a great weight saving, as they were due back so we thought they could get home on their own. I’m glad we cleaned and tidied, but you’d never have known, it looked like a bombsite when we got back, as they were sitting eating cured Italian sausage, brought back from the UK!

He's trying to look fierce, but he is wearing a girls dress!
We had a pleasant afternoon chat, before jet lag overtook them, so Jen went for a doze while Jody went for a run! They were out with friends in the evening, which was a bit of a shame, but a couple who used to live here, and now live in Hong Kong were back visiting, and they had a narrow window of opportunity. This did mean that we could go out for a last meal and be back before them for last lone ‘Fluffy’ time. We had had the comfort of being told how happy she looked and how good her coat felt, so that was satisfying. Combing her was a joy, not a hardship though, she loves it, with purrs and snuggles, and she does need it as she has such long fur that it gets in the way when she tries to lick, which she doesn’t do much anyway! She was rescued from a bad situation and they think she was probably taken from mum too soon, amongst other things!

The shop that burnt down, exactly two weeks later
We head off tonight on the overnight sleeper bus to Dien Bien Phu, which Brian will tell you all about the history of in the next entry!

We’ve loved being here, becoming ‘regulars’ in the tonic (you have to have something to go with the gin) shop and the supermarket, and even one restaurant! To see the way people work, the house/shop that burnt down on our first night was open as a fully functional, stocked, hardware shop exactly two weeks later. An office building directly opposite has been transformed, plastered, painted, tiled, looks really good. They’ve worked every day we’ve been here, late into the night last night, and today the office has re-opened and they are working away. A building behind us has turned from a four storey building to a five storey one, watching the cement being piped down an alley and coming out to form the new floor four storeys up was quite interesting!

A temple full of cats and kittens
We have done a lot of relaxing (and eating and drinking, I bet I’ve put on a kilo) it’s true, but we have walked into the Old Quarter of Hanoi about twice a week, and walked round the lake. The walk into the old town is between 5 and 6km each way, so it’s a good bit of exercise. Been to the bouldering wall and visited the Citadel and the Military History Museum and gone out for lunch. Sharon from Minneapolis had recommended Cha Ca, a fish dish where you fry the fish at the table with lots of dill and fresh herbs, and eat it with noodles, chili, peanuts and more herbs. It is the only thing the restaurant does, and is so famous the street is named after it! She was right, it was well worth the walk! 
The 'before hair cut' picture
We’ve visited temples where we’ve actually seen people praying rather than just more tourists looking, it was the first day of the lunar month which is important, but it was lovely to be there. Another temple which seemed to be fond of its cats, there were many sitting around waiting to be stroked and a monk brought me a small black kitten to carry about as we looked around. We’ve been to a craft fair, had haircuts and played Scrabble with ‘Big’ Nick from downstairs as well as cooked, read and played lots with an adorable small white cat. (Who always knew if I’d found another cat or dog to pet while we were out, the looks she gave me after a very ‘on heat’ cat had sat on my lap was pure disgust, she wouldn’t come near me till I’d changed my trousers!)

The 'after haircut' picture, much better!
So, sad to go? Definitely, I just hope my travel mojo returns after the joys of an overnight sleeper bus!

White cat says 'bye-bye'. She's waving (with her back paw, you just can't see it!)

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