The beauty of being on the road at first light. The air, fresh and the road, despite being at the start of the holiday season, almost clear of traffic.
Five hours a tad long not to have food, however being early most of the farm-stalls are closed, and even the garages have nothing suitable for a diabetic. The cappuccino that was available turned out to be of the packet variety, which wasn’t worth drinking. Even if that was an option.
A small cheese with water, somehow resulting in higher than normal blood sugars. Emphasizing the unpredictability of managing this disease.
The joys of the farm, for a Border Collie. Rabbits. Horses. Guinea fowl. Tortoise dung. Acres of grass to charge across. Chasing shadows. Children, dogs and swimming pools. Sticks, balls and feathers.
Scary sprinklers, trees and buzzing things. Doors bashing and strange smells.
High 7.0 mmol/L (2 hours after meal target, less than 7.8 mmol/L)
Low 5.0 mmol/L (Fasting target 4 – 6mmol/L)
Vietnamese Hot Pot, found on most menu’s as winter comes around. A unique Vietnamese cooking style transferred from China a thousand years ago or so. It’s basically, a pot of simmering hot broth in the middle of the table (over a burner) and prepped ingredient dishes on the side. The broth can be made from chicken, beef, pork bones or from sea food. We tried both the chicken and a prawn option, with banana flower and some kind of green stuff.
Chopstick contortions to manage the chunks of chicken, which still had bits of bone in them. I slaughtered my couple of prawns in trying to remove the shell, before Terry took over for the last one. The broth spicy, and sweet.
Not being able to eat the broth or the noodles, meant I didn’t do any sort of justice to the meal.
High 6.8 mmol/L
Low 4.5 mmol/L
Tea. The search to widen my knowledge beyond the rooibos in my suitcase. There are seemingly a wide variety here, other than the traditional Twinnings infused teas. Jasmine, my current default option. Iced, without sugar, a possibility. Although I’m not sure why it’s twenty times the price of a beer.
In the market, loose teas in an endless variety of packages, the contents of which is anything they think you want it to be.
Ginger, lemongrass and lime, the Cocobox special. Actually with honey for the non-diabetic.
Subtle herbal green tea at the wonderful Reaching Out Tea House. Presentation its own art form, delicate cups probably not suited to the clumsy, and I did have to do the ‘how much to pour in the strainer versus the space left in the cup balance’. Silence under whispering fans.
High 8.7 mmol/L
Low 4.4 mmol/L
Highway 4 – Hanoi
One of those frustrating travel days when I pushed and prodded the food to find anything that wasn’t smeared with three table spoons of sugar, or wasn’t bread, rice, noodles (the awful instant packet type). The Pho, a distant cousin of the excellent pho we had been spoilt with in Hanoi. Low blood sugar grumpiness?
Back in Hanoi, ‘Highway 4’ recommended for Vietnamese Cuisine, with a speciality in foods from the North.
Excellent food in a relaxed atmosphere, with a great music playlist from what are now vintage Bose speakers, and eager, if ditsy service.
Duck and bamboo salad. ‘Rau Thom’ (fragrant leaves). Ngo (cilantro), hung que (anise basil), xa (lemon grass) chili, made for a delicious dish. The licorice of the basil a tad strong for my taste and we had to remove the more obvious chili slices. The sauce, while delicious was loaded with sugar and had to be ignored.
Black Vietnamese pork ribs, cooked in the speciality Son Tinh liqueur, had a strong gamey flavour. Tender and tasty. The sauce meant that I could only sample the ribs and settled for the stir fried crispy pork belly. In typical Vietnamese style, the rau thom on the side of the pork belly meant I could add as much, or as little, as I wanted, for me to flavour the food to my palette.
High 7.4 mmol/L
Low 4.7 mmol/L
First real encounter with Pho for breakfast at the upmarket Huyen on Cau Long Street. Chicken amongst the noodles, which I kept to a minimum, and broth. No discernible impact on my sugar levels.
Tastes of lemon-grass, garlic, ginger and lime hidden within the depths of crystal clear broth, delicate enough to make a French Chef envious. Translucent onion moving between the noodle strands like exotic sea creatures.
The noise of the city driving me a tad crazy, and I was happy to escape to the apartment with a stop at the market. Excellent pork spring rolls, with tomato and their small patties.
Bamboo shoots, lettuce and pate in rice paper rolls our dinner, with the French doors open to make the most of the cool air. LM radio, that touch of unreality.
High 8.8 mmol/L
Low 4.6 mmol/L
Weigh in time. The pharmacy on the corner from the apartment seemed the best place to find a scale. Google translate helping the young assistant to understand what I was asking. ‘Kg!’ Slight decrease in weight, which was expected. Still within the range prescribed by the nutritionalist.
Too early for the market to be functioning, which was my planned breakfast stop as Terry was heading out for her Street Food tour, while I messed about with paint. That my stomach has decided at this point to rebel, a coincidence.
Frustration of not being able to fall-back to a bougette or easy sandwich meal and having to pass over 90% of any menu. Thank goodness wine here is astronomically expensive so that’s not an option!
High 6.7 mmol/L
Low 4.7 mmol/L
Heading to Vietnam for the next six weeks.
First airport security check in George not at all concerned at my bag of needles, insulin and other bits.
I did expect that there would be some level of scrutiny at OR Tambo, and more so in Dubai, for the International flights. However, there were no alarms or questions.
The timing of my insulin jab needing a bit more thought with time zone changes and flight schedules.
The inflight ‘diabetic’ meals offered boiled fish, a tad bland. Broccoli and carrot colour spots. The bread and muffins seemed odd, however easily avoided.
Sugar levels a tad low. Nuts and low carb bars in the travel bag not quite making up for the missed meals during the journey.
Vietnamese food the next step.