[Babbles] Eyes-shut post

I’m writing this with my laptop perched on my thighs, and the rest of me flat on the bed, my eyes near to closed shut. It’s been such a long long day since 6 am after a merely 3-hour-snooze. I leave for Ha Long in a day for the supposed-exciting-yet-which-I-dread Tourism week, so all this last rush of work is really piling in. The sudden Talk held today was obviously not expected so the working schedule with the daily news got topsy-turvyed a bit.

Today’s Talk might be of some interest to you, a chat with an American veteran named James Zumwalt. His book, “Barefeet, Iron Will” has just been translated into Vietnamese and published in the country. It compiles some 200 interviews he conducted throughout 10 years from 1994 of Vietnamese veterans and families, with the hope of shedding light on what he calls “the otherside of Vietnam’s battlefields”. James’ story became intriguing to me in the fact that he is actually the son of the US navy admiral who sealed the decision on spraying AO/dioxin in Vietnam. James’ older brother, who also fought in Vietnam, in a twist of fate, later died because of AO related cancers. The experience, which he deems a very “ironic tragedy”, left him bitter and even hateful towards Vietnam, yet his first trip back to the former enemy land in 1994 saw him take a change of heart, veering him towards the road of trying to understand more about Vietnam and its people, as a healing remedy. I met James today in his 53rd or probably 54th visit to Vietnam…be on the lookout for his book:)

The day ended very scrumptiously well with me abruptly deciding to celebrate my bday early, went out with 4 very dear friends of mine to a newly found spot: The Halia at Pacific Place here in Hanoi. It’s the first international outlet store of the Singapore-based restaurant of the same name. The location is absolutely gorgeous, tucked tactfully away within the courtyard of the centrally located Pacific Place. The restaurant has an interior room with 2 floors, and then a glass-framed terrace section connecting the room with a lush-green surrounding…I’ve already imagined how nice it’d be during the day, with the sun and all. To top it all off, it’s probably the best fusion food I’ve had in Hanoi so far, very nicely plated and as reviews have raved: cooked to perfection. I had duck with pear and cashew nuts, which was so well marinated, the taste was still seeping through my palate half an hour after I had finished. The pandan leaf creme brulee with coconut ice cream was, aside from being so beautiful-i-couldn’t-bare-to-eat-it, sooo scrumptious. The cherry on top of the day was the complimentary chocolate-soaked brownie cake the restaurant gave me and the lemon cheese-cake the crew had gotten me…I’m overdosed with sugary delights! It’s definitely not a place that I can afford, with my salary to visit often, but It’s great food for the value plus understandably yet surprisingly pleasing service, that is a rough diamond here in Hanoi.

With that said, and my stomach in utter bliss, it’s off to bed! toodle-loo!

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