Thursday, February 09, 2012

vietnam (16) day 13, (9.2.2012)

running running STOP! little messy fish, I am so tired....

Is it day 12 only? I am a bit lost with days. It feels longer, much much longer. Its been hard, but today seems much easier. I get that I can still do what I want and that Little messyfish can do what he wants too. This morning was him sprinting on the beach. I was exhausted and cranky. Then we rested at the hotel, then went out for lunch. Lunch was at the fabulous Fernando italian Restaurant again. Margarita pizza, a delicious salad of butter lettuce, cucumber and a do it yourself sald dressing with real extra vigin olive oil, and freshly baked bread. Divine! but i also got headaches and lethargy again. Just like home. It makes me certain that its the wheat and dairy, just like the naturopaths say. After that we spent the entire afternoon in the hotel room. Out for dinner, I was determined to find cheap street food for me. little messyifsh is still hard to walk with. I dont know why I write "still". I would think all that yelling at him would change things. In hindsight, i know that it is not the child, but the environment that i need to change. But, I had no hindsight there in Vietnam.

I was new to the country, I was desperately looking for things to have our needs met. I had no idea how long I was going to stay for, and where I was going to go next. I was on a budget, and could not simply stay in hotels with swimming pools and 5 star restaurants. I had a super sensitive 3 year old with me, who would not last 5 minutes on a tour bus, and I really really wanted to walk the streets. That is the only way i knew how to experience the culture and look around. It did not occur to me, that there would be other ways, that would be less stressful on both of us. All I knew was he would not walk beside me, and I needed him too! I looked longingly at a Vietnamese women who was on holiday from Australia with her 3 year old. He was on a lead. I wish I brought one with me now. They didnt sell them in Vietnam. I asked her. She was smart enough to bring one from Australia.
Touristy areas, brings sellers selling to tourists. little messyfish looked and looked, and never bought anything. This woman got particularly pissed off, and was mean and tried to pinch him. Lucky I am an aggressive defender of his physical autonomy!

Can it be true? I found a cup of tea! Heaven. I ordered another after this one....
Anyhow, I found the best street food I have ever eaten in my life. We walked right past the tiny little wood fuelled grill, set up on the footpath. It was low on the ground and the man cooking was squatting.  These little grill setups are found often in Nha trang on the streets, and because of the open flames, and the very low height of them, i was always weary of little messyfish's safety. However, they are very interesting to look at, and he loves to stop and watch the people cook. We had to step out onto the road to get around it, past a gazillion motorbikes, and then we sat on tiny little red plastic chairs. eye contact was made, I indicated "one" with my finger, and a second later arrived my meal. Rice, smokey marinated thin tender pork, pickled vegetables, chilli sauce and a soup. absolutely delicious. I am dreaming of this meal. I went back again about 6 times during our stay in Nha trang. I started bumping into other long termer's here too. It was a "find". Just off the beaten tourist track, uncomfortable enough to not be overrun by tourists, full of the locals, super duper fresh and cheap! 30,000 dong. I suspect the locals paid 20,000 or less, but at $1.30 I was NOT complaining, nor did I care about paying the "tourist" tax. Little messy fish did the usual, played with toothpicks, stared at people, and tried to rush me. We had it sorted now, where due to the fact that he was still having great milk, he could last longer than me in the hotel room.
Not a great picture of the pork, rice egg vegetables and chilli sauce. i was on the street with a 3 year old, i had to eat fast. This was the most delicious food Ive ever eaten. I was not even sure of the meat at first...but figured it was pork (and trusted it was not dog, as i was told that dog is a speciality and very expensive).

The view from our seat. The spike with the little squares of paper are for wiping your mouth (napkins), The glass and aluminium cart in the background is where the food is assembled, then it is handed to the waiter and he brings it over. It was to the lady at this cart that I hand signalled "one" to her, so she knew how many meals to make. The grill where the meat was cooked is in front of the cart, on the ground right next to the gutter.

Looking the other way from my seat is the kitchen of the street restaurant "next door". A very simple set up. If you think this looks dodgy, and prefer to eat in a fancy looking restaurant...take a look at the kitchen behind the scenes. Not much different!

Looking across the road and up from my little seat. Large hotel in the background. The area is absolutely chock full of hotels and tourists.

this man was so lovely and kind to little messy fish. He even showed me how to find the cutlery. Yes its true, i could not find it! I believe i was completely over stimulated and overwhelmed by this stage....(its right there in the orange plastic containers on the table).

So when we went out for food, it was me first. I would eat, I would entice him to eat too, but he wouldn't...then on the way back to the hotel room (i always took the long way back, so i could look around and take photos and absorb some of the culture) we would go to the western, glass fronted air-conditioned mini supermarket for things like oreos, mentos, chips, bread and I would buy drinks there too for me, to put into the mini bar fridge in the hotel room. I cant believe it was such hard work for me to work out this system where it worked for both of us. I look back on that time now, and I can see that now I know the basics of how to travel with a small child it would be so much more rewarding next time I go. Some people I talk to about travel wonder if they should wait until there children are older, so that there children will remember the experience. I am sure little messyfish remembers this trip, but more importantly, I am glad that I started early, so that I can accumulate experience. The experience is what makes an enormous amount of difference. I would never have thought that I would be happy in a touristy area, eating in Italian restaurants and shopping for oreos in Vietnam! But it was absolutely necessary for little messyfish to feel happy and comfortable. And because he was happy with these things, I was ecstatically over the moon and tearing up with joy that he could find these things, and that I could provide them for him. I had found a win win formula. From now on, my hair stopped falling out from stress, my boy was eating, I had found simple street food and was challenging myself, and I could feel the joy of being brave and experiencing a different culture. Tomorrow, I am planning to go to Vinpearl Land!

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