So here it is, lunch time on the third day of teaching in Buon Ma Thuot and I got to thinking about what time of the day I enjoy the most here.
I certainly enjoy the mornings arising at 5am to switch on the electric jug to prepare hot water for my wake up coffee and having to wear warm clothes to combat the crisp chill in the air. After so long in the perpetual heat of Sai Gon the change is so refreshing. I look forward to getting dressed, donning a warm jacket and heading for the small ca phe shop adjacent to the front gate of the kindergarten. Here I drink ca phe with my new friends the security guard and the gardener from the school. This is coffee growing country and the ca phe den nong is the size of a single shot espresso but thick and strong and best drunk with a full serve of sugar. When I've finished my ca phe I forgo the prepared breakfast in the school canteen and take a walk to the front gate of the BMT hospital where 2 ladies sit on the pavement preparing banh mi thit. These are delicious and like every town in Viet Nam, the bread has its own uniqueness. Being portable I can then enjoy a stroll along the streets while eating and watch the city come awake until it's time to head back to the school and begin my first class at 7.30.
Then, after two sessions of teaching there's that truly delicious part of the day when you know you can have nearly 4 hours of being able to be by yourself. The children are fed and put to sleep and a hush falls over the entire school. Most of the staff nap also and it's truly a delightful time of the day. What a civilised habit. It's that time as I'm writing this. Just before I ate lunch today I was sitting on a bench outside with my friend the gardener talking about the pet deer they have living in the school grounds and looking up at the sky. How crystal clear is the blue sky today with just a few clouds drifting about to accentuate that blueness. Is it an illusion or are the colours of the flowers more vivid here than in Sai Gon? Every colour is so vibrant, the air is just so clear, and yet I don't feel the need to wear sunglasses. Strange. The light is so soft.
Maybe the best part of the day is around 4.30 pm, the teaching is finished, and I can wander over the street to the restaurant opposite and order an ice cold beer. Sitting quietly and enjoying 1 or 2 Heinekens as the heat goes out of the day is very good indeed. By the time I've finished my beers I need to don my warm jacket again because the night chill has crept in. What a great time to head off for another exploratory walk. I enjoy hugging the jacket to me and wandering down new streets, turning different corners to see what's in that direction.