So much to see and do and so much to engage the senses. It’s chilly here in the mornings and evenings and then sunny and warmish by day. Not researching a city and it’s real history very much means that it strikes me all the harder, heard first time. Did I really not know that Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body lies in state in a massive mausoleum which looks straight out of Moscow? Having a guide, Edward, showing just our family of four around is such a luxury and a treat, we are learning so much, all our questions are answered, and getting around is so easy when someone else is driving.

We are loving staying in the Old Quarter with its narrow, bustling streets, all so different to the suburbs of Sydney and the country city we now live in in New South Wales. History is writ deep here and writ tall too. People, people and scooters everywhere, new things to see and taste and so many small alleys to turn into.

And, luckily, great drinks for me. There was a sharp lemon juice and then a shrp passionfruit jouice, all so freshly squeezed. Paul and I went to trendy bar called the Hill Station in the late afternoon, left the kids vegging out and we set forth into touristy little streets. Hill Station could be in any western city, but fits well here too… though the prices, being similar to those in Australia, seem wildly expensive here. At Hill Station there were craft beers to try and several types of wine but really did not want any of them. It was similar later when we had a huge and amazing steamboat meal with Edward and with Kevin from Vietnam Paradise Travel. Tonic did me fine!

The urge not to drink is stronger than the urge to drink. The thought of beer or wine still makes me feel a bit sick in stomach. I’ve still got the scunners, a great Scottish word meaning something has made you sick to your stomach. A massive headache can give you a scunner from alcohol that can last a few days, been there many times. Maybe this is a mental scunner too, I did make myself so mentally unwell in November and all the plotting and planning and urges to drink and then all the drinking has really given me a massive mental scunner. Long may it last, I HATE craving alcohol.

And hooray for the fruit juices of Hanoi, and the excellent food which is giving me so much pleasure.

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