Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


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The day starts early here, often around 5:30 am. Our room is on the ground floor, by the pool and dining room so we can hear the staff coming in to prepare breakfast, which begins at 6:30. We explored the city a bit more before our long Oodles of Noodles demo and meal.  We had some time to catch up on our e-mail and computer work before returning to the Old Quarter to pick up Bill's boots. Nightfall comes early here and it was dark by the time we headed for the Old Quarter -- just as the power went off. Some places like our hotel had their own backup generators, but many of the small shops were scrambling to get their lantern-type flashlights set up. The lanterns along the streets stayed lit, so they must have been on another generator. It's a wonder that this doesn't happen more often as the maze of overhead powerlines is unbelievable!

We found our way to the shoe store, and they had their flashlights going. They recognized us as we walked along the sidewalk (what there was available with all the vendors and mortorbikes parked there) and called us in. Bill had just finished putting on his boots when the lights came on. The boots turned out great, fitting everywhere as they were made to do. 

For supper we walked to the Streets Restaurant, connected to the Oodles of Noodles rooms. A couple of the same servers were working and they recognized us. We were then joined by travelmates Tony and Lola. While we waited to order, they brought out crispy rice flour "tortillas" with a peanut satay dip. We then had wintermelon soup - much like what Sue-On makes except the melon was a firmer variety, and they added chopped Thai basil... lovely aroma. We also had pork and quail eggs in clay pot (star anise flavour... most likely a "master sauce"), and cao lau, another noodle dish in a bit of broth. These noodles are kind yellowish in colour. Apparently, they burn a special kind of tree, add a bit of the ashes in the flour to make the noodles. This adds the smokiness to the noodles. Coconut ice-cream completed the meal.

Walked along the streets down towards the river. There were still many tourists in the Old Quarter after dark since it's about 2 degrees cooler after the sun goes down. Motorbikes are allowed after 9 pm. while during the day only bicycle and pedestrian traffic is allowed. In the evening, all the locals go home -- on their motorcycles -- after closing shop. There are lanterns lit everywhere -- very pretty. 

There were lots of people sitting outside of the restaurants, eating, drinking, but the more boisterous parties were across the river. There was a big traditional junk by the pier, smaller ones, and one docked being used as a bar. One guy played a guitar, serenading the couple sitting there.Strolling vendors were everywhere, many of them selling little toy helicopters propelled by elastic bands. They flashed with lights as they flew up. Others were selling rub-on fake tattoos, and more were selling paper lanterns with candles lit inside. People bought these to sail on the river -- for good luck. That was somewhat different from the Chinese tradition that Sue-On was familiar with ...a ritual to remember ancestors. We could only imagine the amount of crepe paper that must be in that river!

Click for larger full-screen images

We took part in an interactive dining experience at the Oodles of Noodles Project
See Gallery 25

On our way to the Old Quarter we stopped at the post office in the alley beside the old well

The post office also sells cards, tours, money exchange, bus and train tickets, and souvenirs

The private living quarters in the Post Office

Back to the River Walk

Bill picked up the custom-made "Beatle" boots he ordered yesterday.
Light stage boots with zippered sides, leather lining  and made from soft water buffalo leather.

After a light supper (see the Dining Section) it was time for a night prowl.



Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman