Vietnam’s National Day is September 2nd, which is the day in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered after occupying the country during the Second World War. The previous French occupiers were still around but while they weren’t looking, here in Hanoi “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh gave a speech in Ba Dinh Square declaring Vietnam an independent state. (The French fought this quite intensely for another 9 years before finally being defeated.)
What it means now is that on and around that day every house is flying a Vietnamese flag, it’s a day off work and there are probably communist concerts on street corners around the city. I’m actually not sure because when I get a long weekend I tend to go away!
On this weekend in 2012 I went to Luang Prabang, Laos. If you haven’t been, it’s a smallish town on a peninsula in a big river bend, and is full of wats and monks and tourist shops and a night market on the main street every evening. Yes, it’s touristy, but it has somehow managed to retain its lovely charm and become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a great place to wander, rent a bike and ride around, chat with the monks, and just relax in Laos’ completely chilled out atmosphere.
Of course, being me, I couldn’t leave it at that and I had to do a cooking class! The one at Tamarind came highly recommended online, so I gave it a go.
As with most cooking classes in Asia, it started with a market tour, outside of the touristy area.
There you have it! Soon I’ll show you the rest: the actual cooking class itself!