Previous Entries, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Well I’m still in Vinh Long so I decided to write another diary entry. So I went to the shopping mall the other day and it was the second day that it’s been opened and it was really really busy!
The layout was as follows:
• Ground floor: there was a supermarket which was a little bizarre considering that most people shop at the market. Granted most people still shop at the market because it’s cheaper and they usually know the vendors. Also on this floor was some makeup and accessories.
• First floor: on here was a store like ‘best and less’ I bought some towels from there because sindi mentioned that I might need them when we go to her hometown. Also on this floor was a shoe store where I went to buy Sarah’s present but I couldn’t find anything I liked there.
• Second floor: on here was a furniture store. We didn’t have a look around this floor. I made a few observations while at this shopping centre: one was that all the guys wear sandals here, I’m not sure why but it’s a weird thing to get used to.
The other observation was that so many people were looking at me! Especially little kids, they would just kind of wander up to me and look straight up at me like I was some kind of giant or something! Then they would say hello and I would say and I would say hello back and they would get embarrassed and run off! So cute! After this I went back to my hotel room and went to sleep. The next day I had a big sleep in! I was really refreshed by the end of it. Then I read and listened to music for a bit and sindi came and picked me up and took me back over the road for lunch. Lunch was these small sardine sized fish that were braised in a fish sauce and sugar mix and a soup with bamboo and some pork legs in it. After I had lunch I watched a movie and then after that I went with some of the guys to go and get coffee. Coffee in Vietnam is so good! It’s also only about 70 cents a glass; I have been enjoying it pretty much on a daily basis. When we got back from coffee Dylan’s mum and dad had turned up in Vinh Long. It was good to see them again, so they went and had a look around Vinh Long. Then we had some dinner which was the same thing that we had for lunch. I didn’t mind, it was delicious!
After dinner I was informed that I would have to be ready to go tomorrow at 7! I was a little put off about this as I was looking forward to sleeping in! So after that I played PlayStation with the kids a little bit. I am going to miss the kids, I mean even though they are brats they are quite adorable. Then at about 9 I was invited with the guys to go and get some ‘lau de’ I wasn’t sure what it was but I decided to go along anyway and follow my nose. So we got onto the back of the motos and headed for this mysterious ‘lau de’ place. After we arrived out our destination it smelled delicious, the mixture of smoke and grilled meat. I later found out that ‘lau de’ was actually goat which put my mind at rest a little bit. So the guys ordered for me and within a minute of ordering one of the waiters brought over a carton of Heineken, I was happy then. Then a few minutes later someone else brought out a small pot with white hot coals in it (which had a little grill plate on top of it). You don’t get this in Perth! Then on either side of the grill were two kinds of goat meet. One of them was the goat udder and the other one was the goat meat. So we ended up spending a couple of hours there! It was amazing.
Then I got dropped off at my hotel room and I crawled up the stairs and into my hotel room. Then I realized that I had to be up at 7am the next morning! Shit! So I quickly fell asleep. I was alright waking up; I didn’t have too many problems. So then I got picked up and then we went to breakfast. Its still weird having all these noodle dishes and things for breakfast, but I do love it. So this morning at this place I had ‘bo kho’ which is a little bowl of spicy braised brisket with some carrots mixed through. You also get a bread roll with this for dipping into the sauce, it was delicious! After that we got home, then I found out we were going to can tho that day. I was a bit excited about this as I wanted to go there when sindi and I were planning out trip originally but she mentioned that we didn’t have enough time to do it! So we caught a bus from outside the house in Vinh Long and headed on about a 30km bus ride to can tho. This was one time on my holiday that I was actually scared, I cant really explain why I am scared but I will just mentioned that road rules have a very big grey area attached to them.
So luckily I got to can tho in one piece. Well we weren’t actually in can tho yet; we were in a town that’s just across the river from it so we caught a ferry across. Once I arrived in can tho I realized that there are a lot of tourists there! But I mean there is a point, can tho is quite a gorgeous town! So we went to the pier and we hired out a boat which I took pictures of. They tried to rip us off because I was there but Dylan and his dad made sure that we weren’t ripped off. So after a short wait we all got onto the boat and started heading down the Mekong delta. I had a chat with sindi when we were going down the river and I learnt a couple of things then. Well I had already noticed that Vietnamese women are always wearing jackets and hats and covering themselves up but I never knew exactly why, sindi told me that they do that because having light coloured skin is a sign of a families prosperity. There are even sometimes dangerous lightening treatments you can have done.
But after that side note we headed along the river some more and came across the floating market. This is a narrow section of the river where there are a collection of boats, each of them selling something different. So as we floated along I got some mangoes and some lychee juice. It was the most surreal experience being there but it was also amazing. Then we headed on some more and I got quite sad all of a sudden because as we are floating along you can see people who live on the river and they are extremely poor, like they live in the most primitive of shacks. But they don’t seem to be too unhappy about that. I guess its just life for them to live like this. That sadness passed as we stopped at a place for lunch. This place was a little bit of a tourist trap! Well you would have to be a pretty brave tourist to go here. When we walked in they had a number of different monkeys and other animals.
I asked Dylan what we were having for lunch; I got a little more scared at this moment. He ran me through the menu and they have things such as snake and turtle on the menu! Oh no! I didn’t want to throw up again! So we sat down and I was quite nervous so I was playing with my chopsticks, then we had a round of Heinekens come around and I finished mine in about 30 seconds so I got another. Then after a short period some dishes came out, the first one that came out looked like deep fried chicken legs, I asked sindi what it was and she said “oh its just pork spare ribs” so I gave them a try and I immediately knew that they weren’t pork ribs. They tasted kind of like a dry sour quail. I turned my head to sindi and she grinned and me and said almost boasting “that’s field mouse!” and I couldn’t believe that I actually tried it! Well I don’t think I will be having it again but it was good that I had it. Some more dishes came out, pork spare ribs (these were actually pork spare ribs this time), a soup with some fish in it, a couple of sauteed veggies and some curried frog. I mainly stuck to the soup and the pork, the rest of it was pretty average. If I wasn’t feeling ‘strong’ enough by now (Vietnamese believe that eating things like that make you ‘strong’) the waitress came and brought us out a little bit of wine. So I thought sure that might help wash it down. So I tried some and it was sooo strong! It was the infamous snake wine! But that was strong but I would have it again. Here is a description from wikipedia of whats in it:
Snake wine (r??u r?n in Vietnamese) is an alcoholic beverage that can be found at Snake Village near Hanoi or any major city of Vietnam, and other countries across Southeast Asia. In early 1998, a Vietnamese government decree banned the sale of snakes and cats to China, linking it to an endemic rise in the rat population, particularly in Hanoi. The Chinese government places similar restrictions on the killing of snakes, yet snake wine remains popular in many regions. It is illegal to import snake wine to many countries including the United States because the cobras and other snakes killed in the production are often endangered species.
So on the way back I was feeling a bit dodgy so I went onto the back seat of the boat and had a little siesta in the sun. So then we got back into town and I went back to my hotel room and I had a shower and I was good to go after that. So then I mentioned to sindi that I wanted to check my email, I was happy to pay 3000 dong (about 20 cents) to check my email at a cafe or something but sindi said that her friend vinh would let me use the Internet at his place. So I was sort of forced into saying yes, so we went on the bike for a little bit then about 10 minutes later we arrived at his house. So he showed me in and powered up the computer and I loaded up my email and noticed familiar names as I scrolled through the screen. Then I heard a ‘beep’ as his yahoo messenger went off, so he asked to sit down for 5 minutes to talk to his friend. This turned into a 50 minute conversation about vietsingle.com or something. So after what felt like forever I finally got to check my email then after about 10 minutes he poked his head in and said we have to go. So I wasn’t too happy. I don’t like him very much. I mean he is really harsh to the kids even though they aren’t his, which is hard for me to watch. So after that I went back home and had some food and went to my hotel room and that’s where I’m typing from now. We are leaving for uminh tomorrow and I am quite scared about it. Sindi keeps saying it’s like the TV show survivor so I just keep hoping I will cope okay, I will see tomorrow.