|Motor bikes everywhere. Less than in Saigon, but also going a lot faster!|
|Worker having a mid day sleep. Most businesses have a big break in the middle of the day.|
|A narrow alley coming off the road we walked to find the ATM|
|The hot and busy road we walked down. the shops are closed for the mid day break|
|Tet celebrations mean that the Vietnamese have lovely growing living flowers in pots decorating there businesses. Yellow and gold tend to be the most popular colours to use for the celebration.|
|I took this picture whilst little messyfish hapily sat on a stool and ate iceblocks|
|This is the view from the shop that sold the orange iceblocks and dairy products|
What actually happened was that the ATM had run out of money, so I had to walk to the end of the street, and go right and there would be one there. Carrying little messyfish in the hot sun, on the road (because there were no footpaths) was not fun at all. When I finally found the other ATM, again it was out of money. I went into the bank and asked to withdraw some cash. I waited a fair while to be served, then was told they could not do that, and to walk the other direction an find another ATM. I just burst out crying and sat down on one of there stools. After much talking amongst themselves in Vietnamese, they kindly offered to mind little messyfish, whilst I got on the back of a motorbike. The security guard was going to take me down to the other ATM. Well...that was totally a great big no. What if I had an accident and did not return? How far was it away and how long would it take? these sweet vietnamese banking women have no idea that little messyfish has the strongest will ever, and that if he decided to run out after me they would not have the strength to stop him (heck, even I dont!). So it was agreed, that little messyfish would come with me. That we would walk, and that the security guard would walk with us. How nice is that? Oh my, I just learnt that a distressed mother is taken very seriously in Vietnam. Not mocked as a crazy woman with threats of calling child protection agencies. They went WAY out of their way for me. For absolutely no profit! They took me to another banks' ATM. The security guard watched out for me and little messyfish whilst I made the withdrawal. I thanked him, smiled profusely and cried some more. The relief of having some cash, and being helped by strangers was enormous. I just love this country and its people.
On the walk back, that did not seem nearly as long or difficult as the walk to the ATM, I spied an icecream seller. We had looked inside the icecream chests of every single icecream freezer we had come across. Unfortunately the Vietnamese flavours were not of little messyfish's liking. His first day in Saigon, withour being able to find a lemonade icypole was a big disaster, with lots of ters and frustration. This kid lives for lemonade icypoles. The first time he had one, he went back to the shop for seven more. It was also the day we attempted to lift the food limits, and to stop controlling his choices and judging his choices. by the seventh icypole, he had learned how to get it out of the freezer chest, close the sliding door, pay the shop keeper, wait for change and bring it to me to open. Amazing what motivation to do something really sparks the learning of new skills.
So now we were always on the search for a lemonade icypole. There were plently of icecream vendors around who had a well know brand "Streets" freezer stocked with icecreams. Only problem they were in asian flavours. Little messyfish would have none of it. Lucky however this time this particular icecream vendor sold orange iceblocks! strawberry icecream! chocolate milk! natural unsugared yoghurt! Oh what a win! We would never have found this place if I had not gotten lost and not cried in the bank. Little messyfish ate 4 orange iceblocks in a row, then tried two other flavours. We bought an 8 pack of chocolate milks too. Yipeeeee! The owners of the shop were very kind. The husband got some little plastic chairs for us to sit on whilst little messyfish ate, and the wife came out and had a conversation with us. She was a school teacher. The had the most beautiful tree covered with decorations from the TET celebrations in the center of the shop. The shop was new and clean and airconditioned. It was a lovley experience to be in that shop for little messyfish. He was very happy to cool down after having walked with me in the hot noisy traffic for so long.
We then happily walked back down the busy street back to the hotel. On the way we passed one of the shops that has loads of cheap plastic toys made in China hanging on hooks from the awning. They are cardboard backed and have a thin plastic moulded cover. The print on the cardboard is always faded, and the plastic groves are always filled with dust. Inside the shop are piles of toys and stationary and bad quality kids art materials on shelves, on the floor, behind dirty old glass counters. This was our first experience of a local toy shop. We frequented shops like this nearly everyday in Vietnam from here on in.
Little messyfih found a transformer type toy that shot small little plastic balls across the room at great speed. All i could think about was "they would never pass this as a safe toy in australia". Then he dug around behind a door and found a plastic trumpet under a pile of stuff. I bargained a price for this, and got it for about $1, which at the time seemed like a big rip off. The shop owner could see how much he wanted it. That toy has had so much use. He still blows on it today, months later. I believe he especially wanted it because now he had a weapon. A big noise maker, to blow at people to keep them away. He would blow it at approaching smiling potentially pinching or question asking women. He took it everywhere for the next week or so.
When we got back to the hotel, the wonderful wife of the couple running it suggested we go to this place that sold pizza, after I explained to her I was getting worried that I could not find any food for him that he liked to eat. Little messyfish was not a fan of pizza. He had been served it only a few times before, and he didnt eat much of it. People say that a child will not starve himself. I was starting to question this. She got us a cab right outside our front door, and it took us down the road for about 5 minutes. Halfway between our hotel and the main tourist area was a newly completed multi level shopping complex. It was just like home. Airconditioned, excalators, lots of bright shiny lights. I was told to go to the top floor to the food court, where they sold western food. How excited we both were when we got up there! The entire top floor was dedicated to kids entertainment. It was super loud and dark and also bright with shining lights. I couldnt hear myself when I spoke. I just ran around after little messyfish as he excitedly and finally freely was able to explore the place. Apart from the food hall, there was a very loud rock and roll/disco bowling alley, a million arcade games, a great big childs indoor play area with slides and trampolines and computers, crayons, dvd's, climbing, rocking, and general all round great fun. We were there for the rest of the day. We went back many more times whilst we were in Nha Trang. Little messyfish still talks about it. He wants to go to "city center". I would love to take him back there too. It was super noisy and annoying for me at times, but it was also very cheap (because of the exchange rate), and he could run, play and press buttons to his hearts content!
I want to travel, and take buses and trains and go to remote locations. What I realize is that this is not suiting little messyfish. He is happiest when we are sitting in a comfortable restaurant (not on the street where I prefer), he wants air conditioning, cable tv, his ipod connected to wifi, and western food and western ice creams and lollies. So I must find a way for us to both be happy. It means less traveling and less time in transit. Stay in one place for a week or more. Stay in a touristy place because I am more easily able to meet his needs. It also makes it easier for me too being in a touristy place. All the creature comforts are right there. I still experience the challenge and excitement of being in a foreign country. And I get to avoid culture shock too!