…and a feminine Vietnamese fist fight….
11.11.2008 - 23.11.2008 30 °C
Sorry, it’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds. We have been really enjoying the bananas here in Vietnam – very small and sweet with a fantastic texture. Some places tend to have bananas with pits…yes, PITS! And they sneak up on you like, you know, something really SNEAKY! I just found out that only the wild variety of bananas has pits, while the other “culinary” bananas are seedless. The unfortunate thing is that you really don’t see them coming. With such a dense fruit, you can’t see the pits until you’ve cracked a filling on one, and then spat the shrapnel back into your fruit, yoghurt and muesli bowl (minus ants, thank you very much!).
Down the street from Nam Khai, Mike and I sat one evening for a before dinner cocktail, which turned into 4 before dinner cocktails. After our 2nd drink, we heard a commotion coming from in front of the coconut tree near our table. We looked up, expecting to see someone sprawled on the pavement, domed by a falling coconut, but no. Our tiny Vietnamese waitress was in the middle of a fistfight with another of the women on staff. They were yelling and throwing haymakers…it was awesome! The bartender came and broke it up, making the two women go to their respective corners, much to our dismay. Our waitress brushed her hair back from her face, smoothed her blouse, and promptly brought us 2 more drinks. As she approached the table and I put my fists up and said, “Ready for round two?” She laughed – I don’t think she understood what I said, but realized I was teasing her about the fight. Two people who almost had their asses in the chairs next to us jumped up upon seeing the fight and moved on. Guess they aren’t into chick brawls.
In other news, did you know that more people worldwide are killed per year by falling coconuts than by shark attacks? 150 per year killed, according to UniSci (http://www.unisci.com/stories/20022/0523024.htm). Every time I walk under a coconut tree here, which happens to be about every 10 steps, I wonder if I’m about to be brained by falling fruit. My headstone would read: “Here lies Kim. She loved coconuts. They did not love her.”
Last week at Mango, as we sat waiting for our lovely dinner to arrive at the table (grilled prawns the size of lobsters and a large red snapper), a cat-sized rat approached the couple sitting at the table near the edge of the restaurant. They looked over at me, like I was supposed to do something. Galvanized by my familial instincts to bash it to pieces with a Mag light (big flashlight, or torch), I started to rise from my seat. Thinking twice, I sat back down and laughed at what I almost did. Back in my seat, I realized I was clutching my chopsticks in a death grip…I was about to spear a rat with chopsticks. The rat, seeing his error, bounded back the way he came. I feel I must explain myself here. Growing up on a farm with livestock and smaller animals around, it was sometimes necessary to protect them from predators and/or the possibility of getting rabies from some wild animal. I’ve witnessed both my parents regulating on said vermin with various instruments – mag light, shovel, you get the idea. I, myself, have been known to chase raccoons with a 2x4 if provoked while taking my trash to the dumpster. So I suppose, skewering a large rodent w/ a small stick is in my genes.
After that, Mike swallowed a fish bone, and it was lodged in his throat for a couple days. Not pleasant. Out of concern for him, I went to the front desk to ask Kan if he had a remedy. He didn’t understand “fish bone”, and thought I was asking for paracetamol (pain killer). I grabbed a bit of paper and a pen and proceeded to embarrass myself by attempting to draw a fish skeleton, with an arrow pointing to one of the small bones, like the one that was in Mike’s throat. I pointed to the paper, and then to my throat, and then to our room. I don’t know how he puts up with us…he’s quite patient. I also don’t know how he wasn’t laughing his ass off at my terrible drawing. He finally got what I was saying, and grabbed his mom, who got a big dinner roll for me, and told me to have Mike swallow it whole, without chewing. Then she tore off a small piece – thankfully, she just meant to swallow pieces of it whole, not the whole thing, cuz it was HUGE! That seemed to help a little, and I repeated the drawing for Mike to lighten the mood…he was quite uncomfortable, poor dear! He laughed a bit, which seemed to help as well.
Word to the wise: travelling can be tough business. We’ll manage, somehow.
Sending hugs, peace, and restful sleep….