I was laying in bed the other night, listening to motorbikes clearing the way with their horns, and just revelling in how much i love to be on the road travelling.
We get asked by a fair number of people: why vietnam? or why whatever? but the real truth is we (OK, I, I’ll let Barb speak for herself) just love to be out and travelling. You’ve heard the relevant quotes I’m sure, about it being the voyage, not the arrival, etc. I love being outside my comfort zone, I love being on the steep end of the learning curve, I really love having my assumptions, and perspective challanged.
I worry, because many things I comment on are ways of looking at things that I find different or curious. I hope this doesn’t lead to thinking that I am judging or comparing the merits of another way of looking at the world. I’m really just a kid, amazed at the workings of the world, and I love coming to the realization that once again, my assumptions about what is right, or normal are only the narrowness of my own vision.
Guide book nazis:
Guide books are really important. Without them we could get stranded somewhere without food or lodging at a really awkward time. But it sure is curious how important it is to step outside them. We had a fun lesson the other night.
We wanted to eat well. Hue is a cosmopolitan city, young Vietnamese here are stylish, are very worldly, and have pretty good taste in entertainment and food; so here we can get a wide variety of food, many vietnamese styles of cooking as well as varied asian, and european cuisine.
Looked in the guidebook and there’s several suggestions. It mentioned some places being popular, so go early. We had been internetting, so it wasn’t. Walked by two of the places mentioned, and there wasn’t a seat in the house. Full of pretty much exclusively european (yeh that includes aussies, go figure) faces. We walk 50 yards around a corner, and there’s this beautiful restaurant, linen tablecloths, neat as a pin, and one large vietnamese family in the whole place. No menu posted, which is too bad, we do like reading menus. We’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with just walking in, asking to look at a menu and not necessarily staying. Here we stayed.
Upshot is we had a world class meal, worthy of at least one star in the Michelin guide. We ordered the menu, 5 small courses or so. Finishing up with the most tender, tasty, and succulent calamari I have ever had, cooked with pineapple, and onion in a unbelievable fish sauce. Very expensive for our average budget here: $10.00 total.
Small world. The next day we were riding our bikes past Hue university, and there was volleyball going on. Stopped in to watch. Ran into the waitress from the restaurant, a French student from Na Trang. Greeted like we were family.
Cable & Satallite TV:
Good hotels ($10 and up) usually have satallite TV, with cable running to each room. There’s a fun little quirk that takes some getting used to.
It’s not cable like we are used to. There’s the satallite dish, of couse, and a tuner in the lobby. Trick is that whatever the tuner in the lobby is set to is what you get on the satallite. Other that that channel, you are just getting local TV which is VTV1,2, &3. Real trick is that if the clerk in the lobby gets bored with what’s on, they will just switch the channel; and suddenly you aren’t watching the last 10 minutes of a good soccer game, you are watching an Arnold movie on Cinemax. If things are really poor, they may start surfing channels. I think if it were a good movie I could holler down to the lobby, and get the channel I wanted, if I knew how to communicate that message.
Who needs TV anyways.