Completion

We were having our last meal in Hanoi across from the Lenin Skate Board shop which had as logo a rubber ducky. I thought it a brilliant capture of the Vietnamese version of capito-communism.

Earlier in the day we had finally gotten around to try the famous Vietnamese egg coffee. The Vietnamese coffee we had tried so far (‘white café’) drips on top of a layer of sweetened condensed milk. The egg white coffee was served in a dish of hot water. The coffee itself had a creamy yellow foam on top. I imagine it is made from whipped egg white sweetened with the condensed milk. The Vietnamese coffee is strong and got us hooked. One of the curious varieties of coffee in Vietnam is the kind that has gone through the stomach of a weasel or civet or squirrel. The animal digests the outside of the coffee fruit and poops out the bean itself. This kind of coffee is highly sought after and expensive. It is hard to find out whether you are getting the real thing or are taken for a shitty ride so to speak. We bought some coffee that is produced in a non-animal way.

At the egg white coffee café we ran into our young German solo traveler again and shared a tiny table sitting on tiny stools.  Our leg muscles are adjusting poorly to sitting with one’s knees at a 45 degree angle to one’s hips but that’s pretty much how meals and drinks are taken by the locals.

We visited what was once called the ‘Hanoi Hilton,’ the prison where American pilots were held. In comparison to the treatment of prisoners under the French regime in the same prison, the Americans appeared to be treated rather nicely. Most of the prison was dedicated to the struggle with the French. The French regime dealt with political prisoners like they did during the French Revolution with a guillotine and iron foot clamps. The exhibit showed photos and thumbnail CVs of ex-prisoners who had risen to power in North Vietnam. It is quite amazing to think that anyone could have survived a stay of even a couple of months in the French ‘Maison  Centrale’ as the Hao Lo prison was called then.

And that was the end of our week in Vietnam. Bangkok tomorrow and the countdown to our return home has started.

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