Every two weeks, hostel manager Hủng takes a 70 km drive south to Quang Nam province to a little town called Tam Ky to visit for two days with his family. With his 24-hour/on-site job responsibilities running the Stingray hostel in Danang, those two days are the only days he gets to spend quality, bonding time with his toddler son and infant daughter.
For this particular visit, even though one of those days was his birthday, and even though he’d never invited a hostel guest to his home before, he graciously requested that I take the trip with him to meet his family and spend the two days with him in his home. Of course, I accepted!
We set out at 10:45am on Monday…
We got to Hủng’s village in about an hour and then walked around a bit to meet neighbors and see the nearby lake….
Then, we had lunch (Kudos to Hủng’s wife! Best of my trip so far!)!
Later, we picked up his son from school, went shopping for food for dinner, and then just hung out for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I met his mother and father who live next door…
The next morning we headed out to the Tam Ky Cafe for some juice (for me) and coffee (for Hủng).
Oh, remind me to tell you about the lady who pulled up a chair at our table, leaned in to eavesdrop every word I spoke, followed me to the men’s room (as I attempted to lose her!) and even jumped in front of my camera as I attempted to take a photo of the grounds near the cafe! Yep, remind me to tell you that story!
Update: Just before I was about to post this, I discovered Hủng had captured the encounter and he just sent me a photo of that special lady in red!
We left in a hurry to escape the stalker, and then went to visit Phu Ninh Lake, home of the hot mineral springs! On the way there, we passed a road with rice drying on blue tarps on the street. Note to self: I’ve got to stop and get some on the way back!
We arrived at Phu Ninh Lake, paid our entrance fee and shared a ride up a hill to the actual site grounds and a few photos with Hậu and Thủy. Nice to meet you, girls!
Next, we boarded a boat with several other passengers for the scenic tour of the lake!
We stopped at a deck in the middle of the lake to experience the hot mineral springs being brought to the surface by a pipe way deep below the surface.
Then, just before the hour long ride ended, we approached a small island….
….and fed monkeys who (yes, I said “who”) gathered at beach side as the boat approached! Seems they may have done this before!
On the way back, we stopped at one of the homes where the harvested rice was drying, and I offered to purchase a half kilo or so to take back home!
I found a willing entrepreneur and made my purchase! Don’t ask me when I’ll get a chance to prepare this as my hostel does not have cooking facilities. I may have to resort to my tried and true Coffeepot Cookbook techniques!
Once we got back home, Hủng’s wife and mom had prepared a lavish meal for lunch! So, let me see if I understand this correctly: everything (all 7 plates in the silver platter including the bánh xèo*) are specially-prepared vegan versions just for me, and the other food is for the three of you??)
*Bánh xèo [ɓǎɲ sɛ̂w], literally “sizzling pancake”, named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter is poured into the hot skillet is a Vietnamese savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, turmeric powder.
Yep, some days, everything is served up on a silver (or red) platter!
Later in the evening, I entertained some kids in the neighborhood and family friends with videos and photos from my travels (um, or perhaps, as my friend Rogelio said, the Jamaican in Tam Ky WAS the entertainment for the evening!). (OF COURSE I showed them the Macau bungee jump! What did you expect??)
It was a great time meeting and getting to know the family and experiencing life in Tam Ky. We leave tomorrow to head back to Da Nang, but I WILL be back! Check out Hủng’s facebook post of our day.
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