Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ipa-Nima, Hanoi

Tina Sparkle, Hanoi
carries Ipa-Nima bags.
I thought I wouldn't get anything here as the designs,
nice as they were, weren't quite my style...
perhaps a tad too young and embellished for me.
So, I was surprised to find a bag in a design which
I'd been looking for for a long time!

And the colour was lovely too! Such a unique turquoise colour!
I was sold on the design - the fact that I could easily carry it over my shoulder with the shorter handheld handles, and sling it messenger style with the longer strap.
And the metallic accents gave it a slightly rugged look
- perfect for a casual bag.

Shawl from TanMy, Hanoi

I couldn't resist this beautiful shawl from TanMy.
The embroidery is so rich and so well done that the back looks almost as good as the front. I was also tempted by a velvet jacket with a velvet rose as a front fastening. However, the cut somehow just didn't suit me.

Maroon, Hanoi

I couldn't resist this lacquer ware jewelry box with a dragonfly "lock"/pin.
From Maroon on 156 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem.
I also got a couple of lacquer ware photo frames in silver. Wish I could have bought more! I'd have got 3 more frames in black. But they had sold out all their blacks in the size I wanted.

Mosaique Boutique Hanoi

Can you tell I love their cushion covers?
These are actually made up of a plain cushion cover
and a band that is embroidered.
These separates give sheer versatility.
I have the option of keeping them plain greenish-blue.
Or just add on different bands to alter the look
and change the entire ambience.

I got these cushion covers
(excuse the creases - I was in too much of a hurry to take photos to iron them out ... heh heh ...)
I love the embroidery and the colour of the cushions.

This is one of my favorite stores
Mosaique Boutique
- a home decor shop.
I love the designs and the colours and the pieces I purchased were very well crafted.

Visit this branch on Ly Quoc Su.
It's located in a 4 storey villa and each level is furnished beautifully.
The staff here is also very helpful.

Mai Gallery - Vietnam Art

We purchased a painting by
Phan Thu Trang (Ms)
(pronounced Pun Too Chiang)
a young contemporary Vietnamese painter,
who is exclusively promoted by Mai Gallery, Hanoi.

I was first attracted to her paintings that were displayed in the lobby of the Hilton Opera Hotel, Hanoi. I especially loved one of them
but it was just too big and as I currently don't have a permanent home, I was hesistant to buy it in case I didn't have the wall space to display it.
So, I ended choosing this smaller one titled "Summer".
Mai Gallery's manager, Ms Hien, was sweet enough to take it down from display on the second floor of the Hilton Opera Hotel for us to look at before we made our decision.

I love the way the artist paints the trees.
I especially love the red trees.
And somehow, I was drawn to the skinny trees
which some say is her trademark.
I hope I'll one day be able to get a collection by her representing all four seasons.
Red for summer
Yellow for autumn
Blue for winter
Green for spring

Highlands Coffee

Highlands Coffee
- Vietnam's answer to Starbucks
They serve the usual cappucinos, lattes etc
but they also serve the traditional Vietnamese coffees with
or without sweet condensed milk.

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties Noodles

Pho Bo - Vietnamese Beef Noodles

Night Scenes of Hoan Kiem Lake

Dinner at the Green Tangerine

Flambed bananas with ice cream
- in my opinion, flambed bananas are one of the best things ever created!

Pho Ca & stir-fried beef slices

Deep fried vietnamese spring rolls

Vietnamese set meal starter
- Pho Bo

Duck confit main

A pomme noisette like starter

The Green Tangerine is located
in a refurbished long and narrow old house.
This shot is taken in its courtyard.

Tea at a (very) local patisserie - Kinh Doh

I've always had a thing for french pastries
so we decided to come to this little shop
patronised by locals.
Apparently, the owner's father was trained in France
by the French on the art of baking pastries.
The shop is totally unassuming
- in fact, it looks rather like our kopitiam
from times gone by.
But the lemon tart could beat Paul's anyday!
And the custard puff was lovely too.
It turns out that the owner's father (who sadly passed away last year) had actually met French actress Catherine Deneuve, who starred in Indochine - an academy award winning French film about Vietnam's liberation from French rule.
The movie Indochine is apparently huge in Vietnam
and seems to be a movie that most Vietnamese know and are proud of.

Emeraude Cruise Ha Long Bay

The children's school

A little girl who looks around 4yrs old
already so adept at rowing a boat
all by herself!

Even cats! I wonder if they like to swim ...

Some dogs living in the village

Fishing Village
Apparently, their education/school is a source of pride for them
- no small feat considering
their scarce resources.

Two very young Vietnamese girls trying to sell us some shells.
It's so sad that they have practically nothing.

Inside Surprise Cave

Trek up to Surprise Cave

View from Surprise Cave

Paradise Cruises
- another cruise operator

Views of Ha Long Bay

Our little room

Our cabin

Emeraude Steamer Cruise Ship

Our transport via mini-van from the Press Club, Hanoi
to the pier to board the Emeraude Cruise
to Ha Long Bay