The original house, as completed in early 2010. Three steps are de rigueur and blue and green the Vietnamese equivalent of British 'magnolia', which, in a way, is odd as blue and green not always distinguished in Vietnam, one word may serve for both colours This page introduces the house that Hân built in Tĩnh Gia. In 2009 he started looking for a plot of land big enough to build both a house for us to live in, and also to accommodate an adjacent breakfast cafe. The house above took three months to construct and comprised two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a reception area, these last two being divided from one another by a stair leading to the roof. Massive, two metre deep, foundations were constructed so that, in due course, the building could be extended upwards. Then, in the weeks that followed, on what was at first spare ground (see right) in front of the house... View from the front doors over the area where the cafe will be built. Across the road are fields, and beyond them the local school The house shortly before completion (as shown in the top picture) here with the final painting is underway ...a thatched cafe was built (see lower down the page). At that time, across the road in front of the house, the fields were grazed by buffalo, cows and geese. The pictures below show the building of the cafe and those fields. It was soon apparent, that the open cafe would be unusable in tropical rain, so the space beside the sitting area was covered over. This also allowed the provision of an extra four tables. The next page continues the story and shows how this diminutive building grew to become a house of some bulk - as it is today. In the house. The reception area with the two bedrooms to the left, and a bathroom beyond The (rather too!) easy access stair to the roof The house's kitchen area with bonsai - and little else. The cafe kitchen soon took over Moving out from the house to the road and fields - a line of geese making its way to the river Looking to the right of the house - an extensive area of marsh with new buildings appearing And here, to the front, the bucolic view enjoyed by the breakfasters. These three pictures were not taken at the same time, but they show the peaceful country nature of the location. The sign announces the Hân and Duyên breakfast place - Hà Nội style - with special meals available Palm leaves for thatching were brought from the village. Being close to government... ...buildings - think customers! No time was lost in starting to build the cafe The thatched, wall-less cafe Behind the cafe, the kitchen The first furnishings of the cafe - uncomfortable metal chairs In the kitchen phở, the national dish, is apportioned. Masks and gloves are common in Vietnam and have been for many years Soon the busy place it has remained
now for 10 years
The open space beside the cafe lasted a short time, soon it was covered-in, as shown below
cooking prawns. For bigger woks
go to Mèo Vạc
The altar with flowers and food, a universal feature in Vietnam, by convention it is on the ground
The impracticality, in the rain, of the open area beside the seating soon led to the installation of a metal roof and this meant the area could also be used for additional tables
Buffalo certainly enhance atmosphere and are widely in use for their pulling strength, however motorbikes...
...are more indicative of life in Tĩnh Gia. The two types of roofing next to one another are here in place
The Vietnamese never knowingly miss the opportunity for celebration. So a new house and a new cafe mean food and drink will be had. Partaking here: Hân's parents and brothers, plus chef Lợi and assorted other relatives
The next page
continues the storey of the house as it expanded to incorporate a restaurant.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Symbols'.
Or go to the
of the Mosaic Section.