Boy do I love to travel – toby rant

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.

General rant:
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.

2 thoughts on “Boy do I love to travel – toby rant

  1. Sheilah Rechtschffer says:

    I think I’ll just comment on these as we go along. Now, that I understand how it all works. We didn’t get to Hue as you know. Actually, we were in Hoi An the day that the train (accident) on the run from Hanoi to HCMC ran off the tracks. I guess the single guage rr they have means take it slow. Look what happened in Japan. So……we thought….too much to get to Hue and then back down to Nha Trang. In fact, we didn’t fly from Danang to Nha Trang because all was booked (oh yes, I love that museum in Danang too….we saw it in “04–beautiful yellow ochre building and gorgeous stuff)

    Definately agree. Some of the best places not in LP. Our place in Siem Reep wasn’t and it was GREAT!!! When we were very young and touring on $5 A Day in Mexico (remember that one). We walked for blocks and finally found the resturant and it was filled with people and their $5 book. It does give the owners a trememdous boost but not everything is there or still good. We write to LP when we get home and tell them because it takes time to move mountains.

    My daughter Jessica was in Hue and LOVED it. Best vegitarian food in the world. Maybe next time. Did you get out to the DMZ. Well I’ll need to read more of your reviews. I guess just one or two a night will be good.

    Best, Sheilah


  2. Sheilah Rechtschffer says:

    Dear Toby:

    Now I see my answer is on the website. Do you want this? I didn’t realize it was public. If you prefer I’ll write directly. Sorry…..the email novice. 20/20 understanding.



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