Soon we are heading for Sweden. In March/April we will go home for 2 weeks, and the boys are so thrilled about it. They get to meet their friends and go to the mountains for downhill skiing. For that purpose we went to Ha Noi Tower to buy a new ski-jacket for Ruben. After that we went to Hoa Lo Prison which is just around the corner from Ha Noi Tower. It´s a museum showing how the political prisoners, during the french era, was kept and treated in jail. It´s a small museum and we did it in 30 minutes. Our kids thought it was a bit scary so we could not stay and read all the signs and posters. If you have an hour to spare and are near Hai Ba Trung street close to Ha Noi Tower I can recommend this little museum.

We were invited on the first day of the year of the dragon to one of the local employees. Only me (Jocke) and Ruben could go. Carol stayed home with Ossian which had a fever.

They live nearby so we could take a walk to their house. It was really quiet in the streets. Almost no cars or motobikes at all, which is a rare sight here. The people we saw was very smart dressed, probably on their way hom to family and friends to celebrate. It was a very nice visit and we talked a lot with his son and wife. They did their Master degrees in Sweden so we had some in common.

The reason for inviting us on the first day on the new year is partly that it brings luck to have westerners as the first guests to celebrate the new year. According to our host we are so well behaved and friendly and that brings luck to his family. I hope it will work with the "luck" thing. Anyway, we had a lovely day with good food and drinks.
You probably wonder why I´m so late wishing you happy new year. Well, in Viet Nam is Tết celebration (New year) in accordance with the luna calendar and it accurs on the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar (around late January or early February).

Ha Noi has been crazy for a long time now because of Tết. Everybody is going around buying stuff to give to family and friends. The traffic is horrific. A motobike ride that normally takes 15 minutes, takes another 1 hour (during rush hour). This is the most important holiday/festival in Viet Nam and everything will shut down for a couple of days. We have had to buy all the essentials, like food, before the holiday. Its not like Sweden when you can go to the supermarket on new years eve untill 9 pm.

Today was the last day in school before the leave. There where celebrations and all the parents was invited. The kids performed a play, sang songs and danced. There was also a dragondance performence by the kids and later on there was proffesionals doing the same. I´m so impressed that the teachers get the kids to perform like that. So different from Swedish schools.
Click on the link "read more"  to the right to see more pics.
_When I least expected it, I got appreciation for something I do. Someone actually like my blog. I got the Liebster blog award from Eva Swedenmark (http://evaswedenmark.blogspot.com/). Eva is a great Viet Nam and Ha Noi fan and she wrote "when I read Joakim´s blog, I pretended that I am in Viet Nam".
_Till utmärkelsen hör en uppgift. Liebster  betyder "käraste"och utnämningen ges till bloggar med färre än 200 följare/prenumeranter. När man får utmärkelsen ska man göra följande:
Tacka den som gett dig utmärkelsen och länka.
Skriv ner de 5 bloggar man vill lämna utmärkelsen vidare till dem och låta dem veta det genom att lämna en kommentar i deras blogg.
Till sist hoppas man att de utvalda vill lämna utmärkelsen vidare...

Nu är det så att jag inte följer andra bloggar. Det finns således ingen chans att lämna denna utmärkelse vidare. Jag är ledsen men så är det. Om jag framöver börjar följa en intressant blog så återkommer jag.

Än en gång, tack Eva.

Doris, my former colleague from National Food Administration in Sweden ,and her husband visited us when they travelled in Viet Nam. It was really fun to meet somebody from my working days. They had a very busy schedule but they took time off from the group they where traveling with, to meet us. We enjoyd a nice lunch and then we took them to the alleys around Kim Ma and Doi Can. It was not something they normally do with the travel group. They said they enjoyd it much. I keep my fingers crossed for more visitors from work, it was really fun.
When Kaye and David was here we also visited the Vietnamese Ethnographic museum. It took a while to persuade the boys to join us. As usual they had a great time. Why bother to resist when they, by now, should know that we often are right in these matters. Anyway, the museum was great and everybody enjoyed it (however, a little different on a scale from 1-10. Let's say that Carol was the first through).
Se more pics on the link to your right.
_It has been a while since I wrote on this blog. It´s because we have had guests and been away on holiday. We took Carol's sister Kaye and her boyfriend David to the Island Phu Quoc down south. It was warm, sunny and lovely. We stayed at Bamboo cottages at Vung Bau bay. A secluded beach with just us on it (to begin with). It was not only we, of course, but also the boys´s 3 friends they met there. In other words it was about 8 people on a beach that was about 2 kilometers. It was so nice. We explored the island on motobike. My conclusion of this exploration was that the beach was best where we lived.

Read and see more pics on the "read more" link on your right.