Tuesday, 22 April 2008

and the rain came tumbling down...

So today I met up with a friend for lunch at Koto. Koto is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. It has recently opened its new and larger premises at 55 Văn Miếu opposite the Temple of Literature. The ground floor has a nice laid back café atmosphere, though we choose to dine in the comfortable lounge/bar area on the next floor up. I believe if you keep going up, then there is roof top seating with a good view over the Confucian Temple across the road. There is a good mixture of both Continental and Vietnamese fare available - all appealing in both flavour and presentation. Prices are reasonable for ex-pats (60,000 đ or $4 for a roast duck salad - always a favourite of mine), and the atmosphere is of quiet understated luxury. It also has wifi!

It was sprinkling as I left, and my friend was concerned about me walking away in the rain. 'Haha - this is nothing!' I was getting wetter from the sweat coming out than the rain coming in. I walked along Nguyễn Khuyến, then Hàng Bông back into the Old Quarter, and finally took a right down Hàng Trống towards Puku cafe. Puku is an excellent ex-pat hangout, especially if like me, your wireless at home is crap. A lot of my time here has been spent finding good wifi points outside of my house to continue my life of aimless surfing and procrastination. Puku was set up a number of years ago by a Kiwi (who is really lovely - but probably doesn't need my publicity). It has changed hands since, but not the menu. They do a largely western breakfast, lunch, dinner menu - and they do it well and at a reasonable price. But the reason to come here is it is comfortable, the upstairs floor is particularly open to the air, and they don't seem to mind how long you sit here on your computer sucking back Halida's and smoking. I looked up the weather forecast and it says scattered thunderstorms. Sure, whatever! Except - bang! - it began. Rain like the rain back in Sydney. Rain that makes the trip home on the back of a motorbike taxi look particularly suckful and uncomfortable. Rain that has just started leaking through the roof onto my laptop keyboard... This blog entry has been brought to you by the rain. I've got no where else to go now.

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