Adapting to Hanoi life, the day starts after a decent Bánh mì (French baguette) at 8AM in the morning. Every day at the same bread shop. As a regular customer, the lady is already waving at us when we walk down the street.

Topped with egg, sausage or pâté and finished with coriander and hot sauce they are a perfect start of the day. We say ‘Cảm ơn’ and enjoy the meal.

At uni, we dove deep into our coastal erosion problem. Surrounded by some Vietnamese students, we gained as much information as possible and prepared the investigations and analyses we like to perform in Hoi An, where the coastal erosion problem is taking place. We decided on the exact project goal and our area of study and wrote the questions we want to ask several stakeholders of the problem. Expecting that most of them will not speak English or at least not on a level to have a proper conversation, we asked a local student to provide us with a Vietnamese translation. Now, we are ready to go!

Before leaving for Hoi An, we thought we worked hard enough to treat ourselves with a weekend trip to Sapa: the beautiful rice terrace fields in the high mountains close to the Chinese border. We arrived at 6 AM on Saturday after a wobbly trip on the night train. Unfortunately, all was covered in clouds and fog and we could not see a thing of this place! The town of Sapa was just waking up, and after breakfast the tourist information centre advised us to head down into the valley, where we would have the highest chance of being below the clouds. Luckily he was right. Accompanied by a guide we wandered through small villages, rice fields and bamboo forest and the views were really worth the effort.

Yesterday we flew to Hoi An; the time had arrived to see the situation with our own eyes. After all the stories we had heard, we were very curious if there was any beach left. Some places are shocking, we can already tell you…! More on that next time.

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