Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Vietnam (5): Finding food, day 3 (31st Jan 2012)
On day three, we went out to a restaurant a few dorrs down the alley from our guesthouse. It was a travellers restaurant. It had a menue in a few different languages, and western style breakfasts. I decided it wouldbe a good start, because the prices were set, and i could get some easily regognizable food for little messyfish. I was after a cup of tea, and they had that on the menue. So we sat and ordered. We sat and sat and sat. Little messyfish upturned the light weight table, fell backwards of his light weight chair and got incredible impatient. Then the sausages that he specifically asked me to order him arrived. They were not easily recognizable at all. They were a strange kind of frankfurt that had been microwaved to death and now looked like a series of flower sculptures on the plate. He protested loudly. He wanted sausages. he refused to eat these things on his plate. He did however eat the fried eggs. He would not eat that lovely crusty french baguette that is so readily available so cheaply in Vietnam. Bugger. His repertoire is small. It just got smaller. I still was not aware of what was to come with his eating. I still believed that he would eat rice and fish in the land of rice and fish. He didn't. And hasn't eaten it since. If only I new that he was never to want rice and fish again, starting the day before we left for Vietnam!
I asked 10 times for milk with my tea bag in a mug with hot water. I even stood up and took it to the counter and asked for milk. I got lots of yes yes yes, and positive nods. It never came. We paid too much, got the hell out of there, and never went back to a traveller inspired restaurant again. One more motivation for getting down on those little low plastic stools and eating as the locals do. I was so terrified to try something new though. What do I ask for? how do I ask for it? how much is it? can I geta drink too? what exactly IS it that I will be served
I new beforehand that the likelihood of me being served dog would be rare. Its an expensive meat in Vietnam, and I was not going to be slipped it, unless I was specifically asking for it and was willing to pay the big bucks.
On the way back form the terrible terrible western style restaurant I just though "fuck it" , and sat down at the tiny little table. i pointed to what the other person at the table was eating and waited. I waited about a second, and delivered to me was the most delicoius fresh hot noodle soup concoction. I was handed serving utensils (its usually help yourself...but i was not understanding that and my chef was eager to help me with gentle smiles). I then braved up and asked for noodles, with no soup in a small bowl for Little messyfish. I got noodles with soup. He refused to eat it. By now a patron who sat near me who understood english translated for me, and we got a small bowl of noodles with no soup! Yipeeeeee. I just learnt how to negotiate my way round a street food stall for me (i will take what I get and enjoy the new experience) and Little messyfish (Who will be very specific about what he wants and probably wont eat it anyhow). He hardly ate them. Played with them for a while, and it was great fun sitting in that alley and watching Saigon life.
After breakfast we walked two doors down to our guesthouse. I wanted to get ready for the days adventure. Little messyfish wanted to stay in the a/c and watch cartoon network. It nearly killed me to "waste" so much time in that hotel room. there was so much to see and do outside. I had not learnt the art of planning something specifically inviting for little messyfish to do for the day yet. I figured he would just want to walk around and check things out. Wrong. He didn't want to go out for anything except for lollypops after the squishy dinosaurs we brought wiht us ran out. There were things I wanted to do. I wanted to book a train ticked for Nha Trang, book the hotel, buy some fruit and biscuits for the hotel room. somewhere along the line I realized that we were not going to be able to cruise down the mekong river in a sampan, or take a cheap bus to cambodia to see Angkor wat. I realized within a few days, that my kid was bordering on a 5 start hotel kinda traveller, and roughing it in Asia was not his bag. Heaven forbid I try take him to a place with malaria. Now I was here, i was just not AT ALL willing to go to a Malaria area. I had 4 bottles of tropical strength mossy spray with me, and a pop up fully enclosed Perethium impregnated world health organization approved sleeping tent with me. I though I would cart all that round for later when I braved up. When we went to Northern thailand and Laos. But for now....I needed to go someplace safer and fun. It was recommended to me by a woman I met on the street that Nha Trang would be great. Much quieter, great food, a beach to run on, and heaps of kids activities. So Nha Trang it was. I had already changed our itinerary. I had never really planned to do the beaches in vietnam. I as interested in the culture, the people. Not the sill beaches! Heck, I had spend years living on Sydney's beaches and moved away. I wasn't really a beach person. They are nice....but not what i though i was looking for....