Monday, March 03, 2008

Crash landing

My parents said that they got very depressed when they got back to Newfoundland after the trip to Vietnam.

I was too busy to be depressed, but today, finally, it hit. I just feel... ugh.

Luckily, my drumming class is tonight and I hope it will pick up my spirits.

In the mean time, a couple of stories from the trip:

An afternoon in.

We wanted to stay in the hotel, one lunchtime, because we were all tired and going into the streets in Nha Trang was, in itself, exhausting sometimes. Nguyen went to the lady that made banh xiao, the little rice flour pancakes stuffed with seafood and dipped into fish sauce. A few minutes later he came back with enough for each of us to have 4 of them. And 6 china bowls for the fish sauce. And 6 china plates for the banh xiao. And 6 pairs of chopsticks. And a plastic bag with the liquid sauce in it. And another with the lettuce and cilantro and hot peppers. The lady must have thought he was a little crazy to ask for 24 banh xiao to go, but by this point he was a regular, so she entrusted him with all the gear on his word he would bring it all back, clean. Which he did, of course. (We washed it all in the sink of our hotel room!)

The total cost was less than $5.


I never felt comfortable photographing the locals because it felt a little intrusive. But Nguyen had no such hesitation.

One morning he went to the market near our hotel in Saigon and started taking photos of the ladies in the food stalls. They must have thought he was Japanese because of his big camera! So they started joking about him in Vietnamese, saying he should pay them 5000 dong each to take their pictures. He laughed and said, "how about 10,000?" (about 65 cents) They were a little embarrassed he understood them, but told him that tourists often take pictures in the market, but never come back with the photos.

Nguyen came back to hotel and found a photo processor across the street. While we mosied around the neighborhood, the store was making prints from our digital card. A couple of hours later, the kids, Nguyen and I returned to the market and started handing out the pictures. The ladies laughed their heads off! And were so thrilled, too. They fussed over the kids and asked me lots of questions that I didn't understand. Some of the ladies who didn't get pictures were disappointed, so we promised to come back some day and take their pictures, too.

Today's lunch.

I miss the food in Vietnam, so today for lunch I made a little stir fried beef with Chinese broccoli and noodles. It took me about 10 minutes, cost less than a McDonald's lunch and tasted almost as good as the street stall noodles I ate in Nha Trang. Plus, I used less than 3 ounces of beef, so I have plenty for dinner tonight, too.

Screw the South Beach diet.


Anonymous said...

That reminds me - I have photos to get off to India! I was so charmed by the fact that people everywhere loved to have their photos taken. I had to find the adjustment on my camera to display the photos longer, and I never did get tired of turning the camera quickly around to show the assembled crowd. Like you, I generally did not take photos of the locals who were just going about their business. What is there in that that seems rude?!

Let's ease your depression with lunch on of these days, and I can have a peek at the photos!

Much love,

Rachel said...

I'd love to do lunch! But this week is pretty full, so maybe next week.