Sunday, February 22, 2009

Moving Outside My Comfort Zone

So this was lunch today.  YIKES.

Yep - you guessed it.  I was pretty freaked out when it arrived.  I hate seafood - especially when it looks at me.  
We toured the Mekong Delta today with our Vietnamese friends.  We had an amazing day - just knowing we were at the place I have heard about for years was pretty exciting.  And seeing my first jungle was a different experience than I thought it would be.  In true Vietnamese style, our friends took care of everything -the tour to the snake farm, the tour to My Tho where we caught a boat to Coconut Island, then a horse ride to the bee farm, and then a row boat to the first boat, and off to lunch.  lunch was on Phoenix Island, where all the tours stop.  Everyone eats the same thing - there's no ordering here.  Every table gets the big Elephant Ear fish you see above, to be made by the server into spring rolls.  After that came soup with what looked like squid tentacles in it.  Then HUGE shrimp that our server de-shelled (they even had their eyes) and we dipped in lime and salt and pepper.  Not bad.  Then came the egg pancake with pork, shrimp and beef (I think).  The last dish was a fried rice with shrimp again and egg.  Somewhere along the line, a dish of vermicelli rolls were placed on the table.  These were amazing, though I have no idea what was inside.

So this is what the first course looked like when it was picked clean.  Our friends left nothing - it was great to watch.

And this is what rolling the spring rolls looks like:

The meal was really quite good - even though every dish had seafood.  And being a good guest, I ate a bit of everything.  Surprisingly - I seem to like the taste and texture of shrimp.  Shocking!  What was even better than the food was the ambience.  Clearly, this was a tourist stop, a trap even.  But with the Vietnamese, it didn't hold any of the nasty bus stop Mc Donald's garbage that we put up with in the states.  There was a dog wandering around (notice in the above picture that we are outdoors, under a roof only), and the child with us was able to wander safely around the entire time.  The meal was brought to us at a leisurely pace, and no one felt like we had to move on quickly to make room for the next group.  There was a gift shop on the premises, but I didn't feel pressure to visit it, and in fact, didn't even walk over to it.  When we did get the call from our guide that it was time to leave, we felt satisfied and peaceful.  Such a change from what we are used to at home.  I will deeply miss this sense of peace and tranquility.  Never mind that it's in the 90's and humid as hell.  We're having a blast and learning all about a completely different culture from our own.  

Pretty great day.

This is the Mekong Delta jungle.
And this is part of the delta-

1 comment:

Silverton said...

Thank you for the great pictures. You are giving us an unbiased account of the topography and people of Vietnam. Please continue.