Friday, November 2, 2007


I picked up Cindy at the Hanoi airport at 11:30 pm. (No, I did not drive, are you kidding?) It was, of course, a relief to finally see her beautiful face. We had our hello's and such but quickly had to follow the driver to the car. It was great to watch her in the taxi. Vietnam was so compelling she was drawn to look out the window as I talked (what about me... me, me, me, me?). The next morning we hit the streets... around noon. When we got out there I watched her and I realized what I must have looked liked the day before. I would start down the street, eventually realizing I was alone. I would turn around to see Cindy, still where we started; standing, mouth open and eyes wide. The Vietnamese must wonder why we are so surprised at their life. What hit Cindy as particularly interesting were the street "restauraunts", but they would be more aptly named sidewalk kitchens. Every ten feet on the sidewalk there would be one to three tables as big as a milk crate and a few tiny, tiny chairs (think kindergarten)around each table. The cook would be squatting,working over a small hand made ceramic "stove" set out near the street. The "restauraunt" would be serving one thing. Of course that one thing had just been killed and cut up at the market and then prepared at the feet of the squatting cook. It took us a long time to get up the nerve to eat at one of these places but we were determined to do it. We would stop,stare, discuss our options and usually move on. Then we did it. We stopped at a noodle soup kitchen. Oh my gawd that chit was good. Luckily,our dinner was "saved" by a nice woman who sat down at our table. The woman grabbed Cindy's hand after Cindy had pulled a small scoop of reddish liquid from a bowl and made her pour most of it back, then smiled and nodded at her. It was a good move. Just the little bit left on the spoon was a potent amount of heat. We ate, waited to watch a local pay, then walked up and offered the same amount. The total for our dinner... $.70 USD. Of course the very next minute I spent 4 or 5 dollars on orange pop and desert.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy & Cindy,
Just received Kara's email with your email address! I can't imagine the poverty there. That is why so many of them come to this country & work 7 days a week just to be able to stay here & enjoy what we take for granted. Heather, who does my nails is from there & when I asked her if she missed her country she said she likes to visit but would never want to go back to live there. When we were in Ocho Rios we couldn't stand to see the female dogs who had obviously just had a litter scrounging for food. It became hard to look out the windows of the bus! I think Kara's idea of her boys seeing the real world so they will understand is very, very good! Glad to have the email address too! Like Kara said. Don't be afraid to change plans in mid stream! This is your chance to do it all! If one thing is not as you thought it would be do something else! But mainly have fun!!!!!
Love, Mom

elaine said...

Hi Gals. Glad Cindy got in okay and you're eating well. Have a great time exploring the country!
elaine and janet

Anonymous said...

Hey you wild and crazy traveling gals! I had to censor that last post and keep it from River and Ruby...egads...don't think I would've handled that one too well..;(

gotta get rolling on the haikus again...soon!!

Have fun!