Pure Vietnam Beauty & Spa Nha Trang Blog

This blog is primarily used to showcase some of the community work we do in and around Nha Trang. Thanks to our staff and customers who help make this happen. We will also from time to time, post some of the great street food available in Nha Trang as well as a few off the tourist map places to go.

Helping a customer give a bit back while on holidays in Nha Trang

One of our wonderful customers wanted to do some charity at an orphanage while she was visiting in Nha Trang so she asked us to help her achieve this. She wanted to help those less fortunate than herself and give back to this wonderful country that she is visiting.

Andrea comes from Germany and she was very happy that she was able to go to the markets and buy some toys, some hair things for the girls, lots of vegetables, eggs and basic cooking ingredients but she was able to buy some special lolly treats for the children for TET. It is good to be able to help pick out what the children will receive. We knew a few things that they wanted but Andrea also decided what she wanted to give. Andrea wanted to buy something to eat and something for fun. It is always good to have a balance.

After a bit of shopping at the local markets we took everything back to the orphanage. They loved the balls, skipping ropes and toys that Andrea bought for them. Andrea had a great time playing and skipping with them. Some of the boys and girls were great at skipping. It was a great way to spend a few dollars and a Sunday morning.

 

If you are interested in doing something similar please feel free to contact us and we will arrange for you.

 

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Lunch at Van Gia, north of Nha Trang

(Tiếng Việt bên dưới)

It was such a magnificent day and our friends last day of their holidays. We decided to go to Ninh Hoa for lunch. We got to a local fishing village at Luong Son and stopped to take some fantastic photos.

Ngày cuối cùng trong kỳ nghĩ dường của những người bạn đến từ Úc đã là một ngày trên cả tuyệt với. Chúng tôi quyết định chạy xe máy ra Ninh Hòa để ăn trưa. Chúng tôi đã đi qua làng cá ở Lương Sơn, tất nhiên cả đoàn đã không quên dừng lại và chụp ảnh. 

 

We decided instead of Ninh Hoa lets go to Van Gia and sit on the beach and eat Banh Mi for their last lunch. The countryside was sensational.

Chúng thay đổi quyết định thay vì đi Ninh Hòa chúng tôi sẽ chạy xe máy thêm một đoạn nữa là đến Vạn Giã, nơi đây chúng tôi có thể ngồi trên biển và ăn bánh mì - bữa ăn cuối của những người bạn tôi nơi đất khách quê người.

Of course we saw a funny motorbike shot. They were carrying glass and it was so clean it was hard to see what they were carrying.

Hình ảnh hai người đàn ông đang chở một tấm kiếng chính giữa. Phải đến gần thì chúng tôi mới phát hiện ra đó là một tấm kiếng vì nó trong và khó nhận biết từ xa.

This lady was making new fishing nets.

Hình ảnh người phụ nữ đang đan lưới.

Lunch was tasty as always and what could be better than sitting on the beach.

Còn điều gì tuyệt với hơn khi được ngồi trên biển chưa kể đến là thúc ăn ở đây rất ngon.

It was all just one hour north of Nha Trang. I highly recommend getting out and about. The country side is sensational.

Nơi đây chỉ cách xa thành phố Nha Trang một giờ đồng hồ. Tôi thấy chúng ta nên đi thăm thú xung quanh. Phong cảnh vùng nông thôn thật là mang lại cảm giác dễ chịu đến lạ thường. 

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for December 2015

We had a fantastic day on Sunday the 10th of January.

It is TET next month so we took 20 children from an orphanage to buy new clothes and new shoes for Lunar New Year. They ranged in age from 3 to 15 years old. This is the third year in a row we have done this. But this is the first year we took the children to choose there own clothes. Last year we took them to the shoe shop and had pre bought the clothes..

We took the children in groups of five to a clothes sho and then to a shoe shop. The children got to pick what they wanted instead of receiving what we had picked for them. It seems perfectly normal and easy for us, but this so called simple task for us is something orphans rarely, if ever, get to do. They had so much fun and so did we. Some children found it hard to make a decision but once they saw something they wanted they made up their minds. It was wonderful to see their joy.

Lunar New Year is so important in Vietnam and having new clothes is an important part of it. It is great that these children dont have to miss out on it. It took a little planning and lots of helpers but it all went very well. Steven and I would like to thank Mark and Majella Clayton and Colleen Rendell for generously giving money to help with this. Thank you to Nhung Nguyen for the lovely hair bands and hair ties. The girls loved them.

We needed lots of people to help with this, staff from Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa, Dung and Dung, friends from Australia Peter Shelton and Fiona Cossill, and many of our friends Thao, Hoa, Hien, Uyen, Uyen and Lanh, all assisted. Without their help we could not have done this. Thank you all so much. It was an amazing day.

Thanks to our customers who have helped contribute to this worthy cause.

 

Ngày chủ Nhật vừa rồi là một ngày hết sức tuyệt vời đối với chúng tôi. Ngày 10 tháng Một.

Tết Âm Lịch sẽ đến vào tháng tới, vì vậy chúng tôi đã đưa 20 em bé từ trại trẻ mồ côi đi mua quần áo, giày mới. Các em nằm trong độ tuổi từ 3 đến 15, đây là năm thứ ba chúng tôi tổ chức các chương trình cho các bé, và là năm đầu tiên chúng tôi dẫn các bé tự chọn quần áo Tết cho các em. Năm trước chúng tôi đã đưa các em đi chọn giày và mua thêm quần áo.

Chúng tôi đưa các em theo nhóm 5 người một lần lượt đi vào của hàng quần áo sau đó là đi mua giày. Các em được lựa chọn những gì mình thích thay vì phải mặc đồ do người khác lựa chọn. Đối với chúng ta việc mua quần áo là cực kỳ đơn giản và  bình thường, nhưng đối với các trẻ em mồ côi thì hoàn toàn là điều lạ. Các em đã rất vui và chúng tôi cũng cảm thấy điều ấy. Một vài em dường như cảm thấy rất khó để chọn được thứ em thích, nhưng một khi em đã nhìn thấy được thứ em muốn, thì việc quyết định không còn là khó khăn nữa. Chúng tôi cảm thấy thật hạnh phúc khi được nhìn các em vui.  

Tết Âm Lịch ở Việt Nam được xem là một trong những sự kiện quan trong nhất, và sắm sửa quần áo mới cho những ngày này là một phần tạo nên sự kiện quan trọng trong năm và may là các em đã không bị lỡ. Chúng tôi đã bỏ ra rất nhiều thời gian để thu xếp và cần đến sự giúp đỡ của một vài người bạn cho nên ngày hôm ấy mọi thứ đã diễn ra rất suôn sẻ. Steven và tôi muốn gửi lời cảm ơn đến Mark và Majella, Clayton và Colleen Rendell đã hào phóng ủng hộn tiền để chúng tôi có thể thực hiện chương trình ngày hôm ấy. Cảm ơn Nhung Nguyên đã mang những chiệc dây buộc tóc đến cho các bé. Các em rất thích chúng.

Chúng tôi đã có được sự giúp đỡ từ rất nhiều người, các nhân viên đến từ Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa là Dung và Dung, những người bạn đến từ Úc Peter Shelton and Fiona Cossill, các bạn Thao, Hoa, Hien, Uyen, Uyen và Lanh. Nếu không có mọi người chúng tôi khó mà có thể hoàn thành sự kiện lần này thành công.

Cảm ơn đến các vị khách tại spa đã tham gia quyên góp cùng chúng tôi,

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Going for a ride to Ta Gu Falls

A friend of ours comes from a village in the mountains 3 hours from Nha Trang and was telling us about some beautiful waterfalls near her home.

Tôi có một người bạn của chúng tôi đến từ một ngôi làng nhỏ nằm tận sâu trong núi, nói này cách Nha Trang tầm 3 tiếng chạy xe máy. Cô kể cho chúng tôi về thác nước tuyệt với gần nhà cô.

We decided that we would go for the day while our friends were visiting from Australia.

Chúng tôi quyết định sẽ đến nhà cô tham quan đi cùng lần này là bạn tôi,một cặp vợ chồng đến từ Úc

Map of Ta Gu

There were a few of us.

group photo on bikes

The ride up was spectacular. The mountain range is beautiful and the twisty road is in good condition.

Đường chạy xe lên nơi này thật là ngoạn mục. Các dãy núi nối tiếp nhau rất đẹp kết hợp cùng những con đường quanh co, tất cả khung cảnh thật tuyệt đẹp.

two roads

We went to our friends home to pick up some chicken and then stopped at a little road side stall to buy salad.

Loan's family group shot

roadside stall

Along the way we stopped to buy some drinks and a water buffalo was making his way past. My husband decided that he might need a hand getting up the hill.

Trên đường đi chúng tôi dừng lại để tìm thức uống, một chiếc xe kéo, được kéo bởi một con trâu nước đi qua. Chồng tôi đã ngày lên chiếc xe kéo đó, đi nhờ một đoạn lên đồi.

water buffolo water buffolo

There were coffee beans drying everywhere. Some of them are by the roadside and on tarps drying in the sun.

Nơi này người ta phơi hạt cafe khắp nơi. Một số thậm chí còn được phơi ở ngay trên mặt đường.

coffee beans coffee beans

The falls were spectacular. It was a bit of a challenge for us oldies to get up to the main water fall but a bit of water a few slippages and lots of laughter and we all made it. Luckily the chicken made it and didn't get spilled.

Thác mước mà chúng tôi được tham quan thật sự ngoại mục. Hơi thử thách cho những người lớn tuổi như chúng tôi phải trèo lên các thác nước, và thác nước chính là nói khó chinh phục nhất, nhưng tất cả chúng tôi đều đã làm được với rất nhiều tiếng cười.

waterfalls waterfalls

There was a group of young people who came along after. Of course they got in with no problem.

Hôm đó còn có một nhóm người cùng leo lên thác ngay sau chúng tôi. Tất nhiên họ leo lên đây dễ dàng hơn chúng tôi.

group getting to waterfalls

After we had eaten our fill and relaxed we left to go back to our friends home. Her parents have this wonderful home and her father is a carpenter and he has made the house. It is so peaceful here.

Sau khi đã ăn trưa no và thư giãn ở thác một lúc, chúng tôi quay về lại nhà của cô bạn tôi. Gia đình cô đã có một ngôi nhà thật tuyệt đẹp nơi này, ba cô là thợ mộc và ông là người đã xây lên ngôi nhà. Khỏi phải nói là trông ngôi nhà và khung cảnh xung quanh nơi đây rất là yên bình.

cooking food

eating

On the way back down the mountain we were a little camera happy. We came upon these ladies returning home after working.

Trên đường về mọi người đã thi nhau làm mặt tếu để chụp ảnh. Chúng tôi đi theo những người phụ nữ đã làm xong việc và đang trên đường đi về nhà.

walking ladies

lady returning from work

These children were swimming and trying to catch some fish in a local waterway.

Mấy đứa nhỏ đang bơi và bắt cá trên con sông nhỏ trong làng.

children children swimming

We arrived back in Nha Trang at 6pm. A little sore, tired but very happy. It was a great day!

chúng tôi về lại Nha Trang lúc 6h tối. Hơi mệt và mỏi chút xíu nhưng chúng tôi rất vui. Quả là một ngày tuyệt với cho tất cả chúng tôi!

view

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for November 2015 at Than Son Pagoda

 

We were lucky enough to have some friends visiting from Australia so we decide to take them with us to Thanh Son Pagoda.

Truck Greating at the Pagoda

The Pagoda currently has 57 children and 27 old and homeless people. Mixed in with these people are some children with disabilities. The Pagoda is on the way to the airport and about 45 minutes out of Nha Trang City.

Peter with child

Fiona feeding Steve and Dung with Yogurt

We took nappies for the disabled children and also took lots of food.

Peter and Fiona really enjoyed meeting the wonderful people. The children are so friendly and happy. It is always interesting to see what the children are learning.

Peter meeting Fiona meeting

We were looking in the Pagoda and children come in and started chanting and using different instruments. It was great.

Dung praying children chanting

Peter and Steve Peter with drum

As always it is a humbling experience when people who have so little are so happy for a bit of your time.

children general

We would like to thank Peter and Fiona and Dung, who is staff at Pure Viet Nam Beauty and Spa, for coming with Steve and I.

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Going for a ride to Ninh Van

A friend of ours had invited us to visit her home town of Ninh Van. This is a ninety minute motorbike ride from Nha Trang up Highway one. You turn in to Vinashin and then go down the coast road.

The view as you go over the mountains to Ninh Van is spectacular.

View of Ninh Van View of Ninh Van

Gates into the city of Ninh Van

The streets are wide and clean. There is a naturally sheltered bay here. The main economy for the town is shallots and fishing.

clean wide streets Safe Harbor

preparing the fishing nets New nets

We went to our friends parents place for lunch. One of the girls climbed a coconut tree to get fresh coconuts for us to drink. We had the best chicken and rice. Her parents grow so many different vegetables. We sat around an old coconut tree that had been cut down and we used it as a table. It was great.

sitting around drinking coconut Cooking Hut

Home sweet home

After lunch we went to a local bay where the water was crystal clear and you could see little snails and shells in the water. Everyone was on hammocks rocking in the breeze just relaxing.

Local Bay Shell in the water

It was a wonderful day. We kept a head of the rain, got a little sunburnt and met some lovely people.

 

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Going for a ride on the bike near Lien Sang

Sunday was such a beautiful day that we couldn't help but go for a ride. We decided to go via some back roads up to Lien Sang. This is about an hour west of Nha Trang on the road to Dalat.

The countryside was beautiful. After all of the recent rains everything was so green. It looked like a giant patchwork quilt in greens.

patchwork of Green on the hills

We stopped for lunch and then a drink beside a beautiful river. It was quite shallow but there were people down further swimming. many people seemed to use this place to stop at.

river

After lunch we decided to explore around the village of Lien Sang. This is quite a poor village but everyone was so friendly. The children were all saying hello and laughing and smiling.

Children of Lien Sang Young Boy in Lien Sang

Some of the houses here are really basic but the yards are impeccable. The pigs wander around. I'm unsure how they tell who's who's unless they are communal.

House in Lien Sang House in Lien Sang

Local shop in Lien Sang

We went up in the hills behind the village and found a couple of bridges that the kids were jumping off of and cooling down.

local children Children jumping off bridge

There was a lovely suspension bridge in further and someone has been to a lot of trouble to make a tourist attraction alongside the stream.

suspension bridge

eco tourism

On the way back on the main road we came across some boys delivering fresh Bee's wax.

Fresh Bee's wax

A recycling man.

Recycling Man Recycling Man 2

We had to stop for the cows to move.

Cows

When we got closer to Nha Trang we came upon the farmers preparing the fields for the upcoming rice crop.

Preparing the rice fields Preparing the rice fields 2

Preparing the rice fields 3

All up we were out and about for around six hours. It was a great day seeing the real Vietnam reminding us of how beautiful this country is.

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Hon Chong

 

Hon Chon is a collection of rocks that form a Promontory just off Tran Phu Street. It is over the bridge away from the tourist area in the north. It is only about 7 minutes away from Thap Ba Ponagar so it makes sense to combine these two attractions if you are going to go.

Hon Chong Promontory Hon Chong Fairy Bay

You can climb around on the rocks but once you start getting out to the Promonatory you might get ushered back by the guards as they want you to go to the top of the hill and pay a small fee of 22 000 VND to access the area. You do also get to go through a room with artifacts. The landscape is very beautiful. There are two coffee shops. I know some of my friends with children prefer the bottom coffee shop so their children can access the beach and rocks but I prefer the top one as the views and breeze I think are far superior. It is very easy to sit here and waste an hour or two at a very cheap price.

View from top coffee shop Hon Chong

There are local legends surrounding this area. There is a meant to be a hand print on one of the giant boulders out the front of the Chon promontory. In comparison to other places there is almost no tourists.

About 300m south of Hon Chong (towards Nha Trang) is tiny Hon Do (Red Island), which has a Buddhist temple on top. To the northeast is Hon Rua (Tortoise Island), which really does resemble a tortoise. The two islands of Hon Yen (Bird’s-Nest Island) are off in the distance to the east.

The area here is called Fairy bay. The water is calmer than at Nha Trang Beach. You can sometimes see men using fishing nets around the rocks and on most mornings there are a few fishing boats that pull in and off load their catch and sort it on the beach. Great photo opportunities but around 6 – 8 am depending on the weather and their catch.

Fairy Bay fishermen Fairy Bay Beach

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for October 2015 at Tu Bong

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for October at Tu Bong

tinn

What a fantastic Sunday morning . It was charity for Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa for October. Unfortunately the boss still has a sore back so it was a girls trip. (Sorry Steve Brown it will get better soon)
We went to Tu Bong. This beautiful little town is a little more than an hour away now that the road is fixed (what a difference).

We have been many times to this wonderful place. The orphanage is capable of housing many children but still has under twenty.

tind tini

At the moment they have 3 babies which takes up a lot of their resources. One baby is 12 months old and he has physical and mental disabilities. A female baby is one month old and she has a reasonably severe cleft palate and the other male baby who is two months old doesn't have any disabilities.

tina tinh tinb tink

There were three other children at the orphanage with the rest off doing chores. We took up lots of special baby formula for the babies and nappies, milk for the other children and a carton of condensed milk. Of course there may have been one packet of lollies.

tin

Samantha Cherry and Shane gave us some money to buy some extra milk and unfortunately couldn't come with us. Nguyễn Nhung also came up with some of her friends for a quick visit and bought some oil, milk and soy sauce.
It was wet to start with but the weather was beautiful by mid morning.

The staff and I had a wonderful time feeding the babies playing with the children and looking around. They are growing so many fruits and vegetables. We had some of their home grown bananas which were delicious. The okra looks about ready to harvest. Someone has a very green thumb.

tinf tinc tine ting

I would like to thank the wonderful staff who came Dung Vo Thùy Dung Minh Hiền and Nhung and her friends for coming. It was a very special day.

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Visiting Chua Phap Vien Thanh Son and Banh Uot for breakfast

 

Went on a little trip on Sunday with a few of my friends.

We went to Chua Phap Vien Thanh Son. A Temple outside of Nha Trang set in magnificent farmland. It took around 50 minitues to get there on motorbikes.


We stopped off for Bánh ướt (literally "wet cakes"). A lady spreads a rice mix over a thin membrane of some kind of cloth. This cloth has boiling water coming through it and she puts a lid on top. Waits maybe 2 minutes and with a ladle scoops the rice noodle sheet off the steaming cloth and places it on a plate with fried shallots and we had some beans on top. This has a side of Cha Lua (Vietnamese Pork Sausage) and nuoc cham sauce and shredded green mango. We paid the princely sum of 3 000 VND per plate. This lady sits beside this steaming pot scooping rice sheets of for hours. We consumed quite a few plates between us though. It seems like a hard way to make money however it is delicious.

Back off we went. Eventually we came across the temple after traveling on poorer and poorer roads. It is an amazing site to turn the corner and suddenly at the end of this dirt road you are there.

This Pagoda is quite extensive. It is on a hillside and has many levels to it. The wooden carvings, stone statues and gardens certainly show a flair for the beautiful with lovely gardens thrown in.

There were 2 peacocks as well as lots of fish in the ponds. The peacocks were putting on quite a display.

It seems to have a bit of a mix of Hindu with Buddism. I have heard this Pagoda referred to as the French Pagoda. I believe it was started in 2006. I don’t know a lot more about it.

The surrounding countryside is spectacular from the Pagoda. Rice crops, a duck farm, fruit trees are all visible. Unfortunately there was quite a haze so the photos are not as good as they could have been.


It was a great morning out riding and getting to see the countryside with the bonus of a beautiful Pagoda.

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Pork seller at Vin Hai Markets in Nha Trang, Vietnam

Pork seller at Vin Hai Markets in Nha Trang, Vietnam

One of my Vietnamese friends has given us an insight into local life and her daily shopping at the markets. My friend is a University student whose mother has passed away and she buys food for her Father, Sister, Uncle and Grandmother who all live at her home.

Every morning, I go to market to buy the food for my family. It is my habit to the same kiosk to buy the food I need for my family. This is the woman that my family always buys pork from. She has been selling here in the markets for nearly 15 years. She comes from Bac Giang – one of the provinces in the North of Vietnam. She came to Nha Trang with her family and got married to a man from Nha Trang. She lives here with her family.

Every day, she wakes up at 3:30am to pick up the pork from the wholesale market. She sell about 50 kg of pork each day, which includes all kinds of pork, bacon, pork ribs, pork bones… In the morning, she sells from 5 am to 11 or 12 depending on the number of customers she has and the amount of meat she sells. Sometimes, she doesn’t sell on the first and the fifteenth of the Lunar month because that day in Nha Trang, as in the rest of Vietnam, many people who are Buddhist only eat vegetarian so she doesn’t sell a lot of meat on those days and is not worthwhile for her. After finishing at 12 she goes home and takes a rest. She will then prepare for the afternoon market.

After a morning busy with selling pork, she sells chicken in the afternoon. She sells in the market from 3 pm to 5 or 6 pm every afternoon. Most of what she sells is chicken breast, chicken feet, chicken wing’s and chicken’s leg. When she finishes, it’s getting dark. She goes home to cook dinner for her family. Sometimes, she watches a film on TV or goes to sleep early so she can get ready for the new brand day tomorrow.

Whenever I go and buy pork at her kiosk, she gives me some advice about what kind of pork is good today, she asks me what kind of food I am going to cook today and then she give me the best price. What I like with her is that even though she has a busy day, she always smiles with all her customers, she doesn’t care that they buy or not. She is always such a happy woman!

 

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Helping out with Volunteering in Nha Trang Vietnam October 1015

Helping out with Volunteering in Nha Trang Vietnam

What a day!
Bacchaus Marsh Grammer is a large Private Primary School in Melbourne, Australia who at the moment have seventeen students and four teachers on a educational tour of Vietnam. Each year Bacchaus Marsh Grammer bring over children so they can experience a different culture but to also help those children a little less fortunate than them. This is a fantastic experience assisted by a great group of dedicated teachers.

They were at Chua Loc Tho to teach and play with the children. To make this more successful and enjoyable for all I took out a group of six friends to translate for the Australian children so the Vietnamese children could understand and learn more. Two staff from Pure Vietnam Beauty & Spa as well as four people who I teach English to were our wonderful translators. All of my friends wanted to come but we kept the numbers down so the children weren't overwhelmed.

We divided the Australian children up with each translator and they each taught a different class. It was lovely to see everyone learning together. The translators got to talk to the Australian children and the Australian children got to teach the Vietnamese children. It was a lot of fun learning about colours and learning the rainbow song.

After the lessons the Australian children sang two songs, the rainbow song and Advanced Australia Fair (I admit I got a tear in my eye with this one).

The Vietnamese children then sang and danced for the Australian children.

Everyone was really happy. The Australian children then dished out lunch for the children of the Pagoda.

What a wonderful end to an eventful morning. I want to thank all my friends who made this such a successful morning. You all did a wonderful job, everyone was a little nervous to start but had a great time.

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for September 2015 at Chuia Linh Quang

 

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for September 2015 at Chuia Linh Quang.

Chuia Linh Quang is a Pagoda on the outskirts of Nha Trang. It is a reasonable size Pagoda with approximately 35 monks coming and going. The youngest at the moment is seven years old.

This Pagoda supports the people in this very poor district. Every weekend the Pagoda has two different programs where on Saturday the older residents can come and pray/ meditate, receive lunch and talk about life and on Sunday it is the younger peoples turn.

We were able to help on the Sunday. Unfortunately the Master was not there but we will catch up another time. His second in charge did a wonderful job.

With the help of Hien, I went to local markets on the Saturday and bought up on noodles, 10 kg of Tofu, about 30kgs of various vegetables, 20 kg of watermelon, 4kgs of dried mushrooms and 50 bags of fake meat.

We hired a 16 seater bus and 13 of us along with the food piled in. The roads were interesting after recent rain and of course the driver got lost. We turned up, unloaded and started peeling and chopping. There was lots of laughter as we all joined together to prepare the food.

We had a few chefs. We had the boys cooking much to the delight of the ladies.

Had the world’s largest mortar and pestle going, this required serious muscle action, which was being used to pulverize tofu to mix with wood ear mushrooms which were then deep fried.

There were a large variety of dishes made all very tasty. Saw a great wood fired rice steamer. The local ladies do a fantastic job cooking very tasty dishes. Whilst we were preparing and cooking there was chanting and meditation happening. We did have a bit of supervision from the younger monks who were fascinated with us.

We even had an apprentice with the cleanup. She was having so much fun with the water.

When the food was ready everyone assembled and in silence we selected what we wanted to eat and all sat in the temple together. We had a prayer then we ate in silence. When we were finished the monk in charge talked about life and problems. Then they invited us to say a little about Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa and why we were doing charity. They thanked us by singing two songs. It was a lovely morning. We fed about 80 people but had so much fun doing it.

I know we will be back soon. Thank you to the great staff from Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa, wonderful friends as well as some of the people who I teach English to. Teamwork was excellent, cooking was great and we got to meet some wonderful people. An all round fantastic Sunday.

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Breakfasting with a friend - Banh Can

Breakfast with a friend.

This morning I went out with a friend to look around a little. There were so many areas of Nha Trang that I haven’t explored yet. I ended up having Banh Can on the street for breakfast near Hương lộ ngọc Hiệp.

I met the lovely lady who cooks, Mrs Duoc who is 61 years old, her husband, Mr Ky who is 67 years old. They cook every day of the week for four hours each morning and have done for the last seven years. Their son Tuoi, who is 25 years old, comes and helps his mother cook whenever he can. Today they are especially proud of their son as he starts work today as a pastry chef in one of the larger hotels in Nha Trang. He said one of his favorite things to cook is cheesecakes so I am sure he will be making quite a few of these.



Mrs Duoc cooks with fingerless gloves on to try to protect her hands from the heat but nothing can protect her fingertips that touch each cup as she gets each of our Banh Can out of the pan. Mr Ky efficiently sets up and cleans up after customer as well as preparing our grated green mango and fried spring onion that we have with our sauce.
When we arrived there was no-one there but after we sat down people started to come. They thought I was very lucky for them. They were all amazed at my dexterity with the chopsticks.


After breakfast we adjourned to a waterside coffee shop with amazing views. We sat and watched the boats go by. After refreshment we went to a local railway bridge that has amazing views up and down the Cai River at the back of I Resort. An all round great morning.


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Haircuts for Orphans September 2015

 

One of the students Eileen teaches English to use to be a hairdresser but hasn’t done any hair cutting since she got pregnant and had her baby. Now the baby is a little boy she wants to get back into hairdressing so needs to practice. She asked if any of the orphanages that we go to would like free haircuts.

I was able to direct her to an inner city orphanage run by a couple. This orphanage has around 20 children with most of them under the age of 12.

The children were very happy. Uyen was able to cut six children’s haircuts with the promise of returning when the other children’s hair was in need of cutting.

Apparently the young boy wanted his hair shaved off. Must be a fashion thing!!

Smiles all round.

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Hashtaglunchbag Sunday 27th of September 2015 at Lanterns Restaurant in Nha Trang, Vietnam

There is a group of people in Nha Trang who are trying to join a global movement called hashtaglunchbag. This group want people from their local communities to join together to produce lunches for the less fortunate and then deliver them. It is not about giving money rather your time for the people in need in your local community.

Lanterns restaurant has hosted two such events. The first had approximately 140 people in attendance. It is held the last Sunday in the month. On this last Sunday we had around 60 people come together. Some of the hotels were represented. Intercontinental Hotel, Sheraton Hotel, Ana Mandera Hotel, Novotel Hotel they supplied the buses to transport the people to the areas of donation along with Nha Trang University Smart English group (they are a group of students who learn English every Sunday but also participate in charity events) as well as myself and friends from Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa.

We made up 600 meals of rice, omelet, pork and vegetables. These were packaged in a take away container with a note saying it was from hashtaglunchbag and a spoon. It was wonderful to work with such a happy group. Cooperation and communication obviously being the key to running something like this.

Robert and Hien from Lanterns did a magnificent job of hosting and coordinating everything. I ended up talking to the university students quite a bit and may find myself visiting them some Sundays.

After packing the lunches we jumped in mini buses to deliver to three different locations that had been organized. I was in a mini bus to go to a Pagoda in a very poor area of Nha Trang.

After travelling on dirt roads in a very undeveloped area in the outskirts of Nha Trang we arrived at the Pagoda. As a group we went around the local village and delivered the lunches. Some of the “houses” are very basic but all people had wonderful welcoming smiles and were very grateful for the food. There were lots of elderly and small children. I guess the parents were out working. It was quite humbling to visit the people instead of just putting the lunches in a box and letting someone else deliver them. It bought it home why we were doing it.

This is an awesome initiative. I would encourage everyone to see what is happening in their local community

 

 

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Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for August 2015

Pure Vietnam Beauty and Spa Charity for August

What a fabulous day we had.

We decided for something a little different we would bring children to us to get them out of their orphanage and have some fun. We got twenty children from an orphanage that we visit as well as some adults in two taxis and bought them to our apartment where we have a pool. 
With the help of some friends, Hien, Hang and staff from Pure Vietnam, Dung and Phi for children supervision we went swimming. 

 

I had bought some balls and blow up inflatables, as well as what we already had. 
What a great time we had! The children laughed and played. They kept swimming and playing and really didn't want to get out but they started shivering after two hours.

After getting everyone dried we sat down to a great lunch followed by fruit and of course how can you have a treat without ice cream for desert. 

Everyone was very full, tired but happy when the children left in the taxis to go home. 

I'm sure they will sleep well.
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Ca Nuong - BBQ Fish

 

Ca Nuong - BBQ Fish - Ca = Fish - Nuong = BBQ

One of the street foods that is near my apartment that I like to eat is BBQ Fish. This fish is marinated with chili, spring onions and many other flavors and wrapped in alfoil then grilled. When it is cooked it is bought to you with a plate of rice paper , various leaves, mix of cucumber and green banana (not my favorite) a little noodle as well and sauces. You then make rolls with rice paper and fish and anything you want. You dip this in the sauces. It is delicious.

It costs 250 000 VND to 300 000 VND a BBQ fish depending on how big the fish is.

This is an incredibly popular place seven nights a week. I can hear the locals Hai, bai yo through the night.

Its on the corner of Hon Chong Street and Tran Phu Street. There are several different places but the best is on the corner at the end nearest the beach.

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Com Chay - (Chay = Vegetarian)

 

Cơm cháy

Com Chay (Burned Rice) is one of the many traditional dishes of Vietnam. It is made from deep frying already cooked rice until golden brown and then topping it with dried shrimp or pork floss , chopped spring onions and chili. There are places that you can buy this on the streets however more and more you buy this on the internet (a sign of the times). My staff know that I like to eat Com chay and they order this through facebook (Nha Trang Club) and its delivered to us.Expect to pay 10 000 VND for each container.


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Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon is one of the famous dishes in the North of Vietnam. Banh Cuon is made from a thin sheet of steamed rice that is then filled up with minced pork, wood ear mushroom and fried minced shallots. When serving Banh Cuon you usually get a mix of Cha Lua ( Vietnamese Pork sausage), sliced cucumber, bean sprouts and some mix of herbs with a dipping sauce called Nuoc Cham which is made from fish sauce, chili and sugar.

It is very tasty and filling but very light.

It is an amazing dish to watch being made as the lady pours the mix of rice batter over a muslin sheet that is being steamed. She waits for it to set then adds the filling and quickly rolls it up with a chop stick and wips it off and replaces it with the next ladle of mixture.


There are some places in Vinh Hai Market and a place near Xom Moi market where they make and sell Banh Cuon for breakfast. Expect to pay 10 000 VND to 12 000 VND each box.

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