|The entrance with it's colourful sign...made up of hundreds of silk flowers...|
|still beautiful when chock full of tourists...|
|Chu Van An...a great, virtuous and frank scholar...he was - the guide book told me so....|
|The Thai Hoc courtyard....big isn't it?|
|I'm pretty sure this is King Ly Thanh Tong...he was a pretty enlightened chappie by all acounts...|
even when teeming with tourists. There are stelae which record the names of the 1304 Doctor Laureates who achieved this status between 1442 and 1779. The stelae are mounted on the back of turtles which seem to pop up all round Hanoi.
|each turtle has it's own distinctive character as you can see....|
and so much to admire.
Inside the buildings at the rear of the Thai Hoc courtyard are shrines to the three powerful kings who contributed to this palace of learning.
|I got the impression that this was a scholars or mandarins robe...it's embroidery was equisite...|
|there were 5 kids crammed inside...I was sooo tempted to use the clanger....|
The girls worked for a media firm, I'm guessing something to do with tourism, anyway they were very gracious while very intent on their project. A while later they found me having a quiet moment beside the Turtle Stelae and I cracked up when I noticed one taking a photo of me...when I laughed and gave the classic Viet V sign pose they all came over and this is the lovely result. Vietnames woman really are quite beautiful, especially when they avoid the trapping of western make up and dress.
|I look like beached whale in the middle...|
After my visit I had a final lunch at Koto restaurant then headed home for a wee nana nap before heading into HCC for my final cooking class....Food from the Coast. Seafood in some of it's tastiest guises.
Tracey took the class which consisted of me, a couple of burly boys from NY (one of whom turned out to be the exec chef of a large Steakhouse in Manhattan) and two married couples (also from New York) who were fresh off the plane.
|Tracey with the authentic mortar and pestle that she made us pound the squid in....hard work!|
|clams cooked in Hanoi beer and aromatics...they were wonderful...I polished off the whole bowl!|
|Blue swimmer crab and pomelo salad...divine, delicate and delicious!|
|From the top left corner going clockwise...squid and pork cakes, classic dipping sauce, the clams, prawns in betel leaves and the crab salad...some of it still needed the final cooking....|
|I was a bit reticent about eating the betel leaves - they looked tough and very dark (which I associate with a strong not always pleasant taste) but they were delicious...|
So this is the end of my Vietnam adventure, I'm actually home again in Sydney. I'll miss Hanoi more that I realised I think. I'm experiencing a bit of culture shock back here in hot and humid Sydney...but I'm sure I'll settle down and life will return to normal. Maybe I'll start a new blog....cooknsydney.....what do you think?
Thanks for reading and sharing this wee journey with me...your comments made me feel that I had friends along with me on the trail...take care...till the next time...tam biet...or even better...hen gap lai.