The May de Ville in the old quarter thoughtfully provided a stepping stool in order to facilitate getting in and out of the bathtub.

Okay. Wednesday is the day we left Hanoi to go to Hai Phong. Luckily, Hai Phong is pretty close (only 2-3 hours compared to 8-9), so we didn’t have to leave until 12, meaning that I didn’t have to wake up at 7 in the morning. I ended up waking at 8 anyway because some girl called from a restaurant asking about a supposed reservation our family had. Theresa had already left to go spend time with Evan, so when I didn’t pick up the first time, they just called back. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep, but it was okay because I got to skype with my boyfriend for an hour before taking a shower. I gave up eating breakfast with my family in order to do the two above, but I’m okay with that. By the time I finished showering, my family was back and I had to rush to pack for checking out before 12. I don’t know why this is, but most of the bathtubs in Vietnam’s hotels are raised off of the ground. Every time I’ve taken a shower, I’ve been extra careful on getting out afterwards because I’m afraid of slipping and cracking my head, or at the very least, getting some nasty bruises. Some of these showerheads also spray long and end up splashing out of the tub all over the place and add to the likelihood of some horrible and embarrassing bathroom accident. (All the bathrooms here have a drain in a corner.) So when I saw that we got a stool, I made sure to take a picture because THIS IS SUCH A BIG DEAL.

We passed tons of huge rice fields on the way to Hai Phong. I can’t even fathom how long it takes to tend to them.

Anyway, around 12 we left for Hai Phong. I passed out pretty quickly, as did everyone else, and didn’t get up until we hit the rest stop. I still hadn’t had anything to eat by this point, but my family had bought some snacks on the way back from their brunch and we ended up devouring a can of pringles. GLORIOUS CHEESE PRINGLES. Oh geez, I can’t wait to get back to the US and eat tons of junk food. IT WILL BE GLORIOUS. One thing I noticed is that Vietnamese Coca Cola tastes different than Coke in the US. I always disliked Coke before because I didn’t really like the taste and it left this weird, kinda sticky residue on my teeth. Coke in Vietnam tastes sweeter and doesn’t leave that residue on my teeth. Anyway, I only say this because I had the nasty Coke at the rest stop because I incorrectly assumed that it would be the same as the Coke I had had at restaurants.

I was given a rice hat to shade myself with, while Quan and Evan both got huge banana leaves.

After leaving the rest stop, we went to a church to meet up with Cha Viet. (He’s a Vietnamese priest who is good friends with my family — namely my grandpa and Theresa’s parents.) After some R&R,  we piled back in the van and headed out to a small village to pay respects for a martyr in the middle of a rice field. The story is that there was this well-to-do man of Hanoi who was a Catholic in the 1800s. Somewhere around the mid 1800s, the king of Vietnam ordered him to walk on the cross (as a way of denouncing  Jesus, I guess). When the man refused, he was separated from his family and sent to this village to stay with a family of non-Catholics. Eventually, he was taken and executed and his body was buried somewhere in the rice fields.
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