Archive | Vietnam RSS feed for this section

Mekong Delta

20 Sep

Today we said farewell to Saigon. We did a 2-day Mekong Delta voyage to Phnom Penh (pronounced pang). This began with a three hour bus ride with the craziest driver ever. He sped like crazy and since the roads here aren’t in the greatest condition, it was like being on a roller coaster (but not an awesome one) because every 30 seconds or so, I would bounce out of my seat and my mascota’s head would hit the roof. Not to mention the incessant honking. OMG.

The, we got on a boat on the Mekong. The Mekong is crazy because it has floating communities – people who live on their boats and the river has become their city. Yet, they ALL had cell phones and cable antennas on their boats.

20120920-121659.jpg

20120920-115601.jpg

20120920-115723.jpg

We also toured on one of these communities…where they make fish food. This was interesting also because the community is called Cham people – and they are Islamic. If you read my previous post, Emilio and I are OVER fish sauce. This didn’t help the cause. It was just rank with the smell of rotted fish. Then we watched them feed their farmed fish the fish food. They went nuts.

(I have a video of this but it won’t load….I will put on fb later)

We stopped for lunch and had chicken (cooked in fish sauce) with rice and elephant ear fish. We had about two bites each and then remembered the fish was from the Mekong. Sounds fresh and local? Until you remember that we just saw people taking baths, going to the bathroom, and dumping their trash here. Appetite gone….and still really over fish sauce. I mean really, even the chicken?

20120920-120324.jpg

That evening, we stayed in a floating hotel in Chau Doc. Nothing that exciting, just some bed bugs.

And if you are traveling here, pack the bug spray. Emilio’s feet have got eaten alive.

Advertisements

Cu Chi Tunnels

17 Sep

The short history lesson of the Cu Chi Tunnels is that the villagers of Vietnam who were being attacked starting fighting back. In order to protect themselves, they created a three-tiered tunnel system. Then, for breathing they had little airways created down. We toured here, and decided to try a short (about half a football field) tunnel walk. Mind you, the tunnel that tourists are Allowed to walk through has been expanded for us fat Americans. And holy shit, once you got down there,it was obnoxiously hot. And pitch black. I had to bend over to get through the tunnels and Emilio had to crawl. I can’t imagine how people lived in these tunnels!

20120917-190014.jpg

Inside one of the tunnel exits.

20120917-190123.jpg

Emilio doesn’t fit.

20120917-190231.jpg

Inside the tunnels. Sooooo freaking hot!!

20120917-190304.jpg

20120917-190319.jpg

Shooting AK-47’s. No, I don’t like guns and this doesn’t mean I think they are awesome – but hey, try anything once right?

Motorcycle City

17 Sep

Ho Chi Minh has three names:
1. Obviously, Ho Chi Minh – renamed after the reunification of North and South Vietnam.
2. Saigon. The former Capitol of South Vietnam. I have noticed, though, that this is what the people still call it.
3. Motorcycle city. The picture should make it obvious.

20120917-185943.jpg

Cooking Class

17 Sep

While in SE Asia, it is my goal to take a cooking class in each country. As you may now by now, I have really gained an interest/love foot cooking and experimenting with food. In Saigon, I took a cooking class where we created a few dishes.

1. Banana salad (it’s the inside strings of the banana peel) with a tomato rose.
2. Lemongrass chicken and ginger flavored rice.
3. Tomato soup – not your average American bowl that my grandma Kathleen ate everyday with half a turkey sandwich though. This is a boiled tomato with lots of green onion and chiles.

For dessert, the chef made us a bean and coconut milk dish.

Overall, Vietnamese cuisine isn’t my favorite — the fish sauce us WAY stronger (it literally tastes like the fish that is rotting in the markets) but the dishes we made here were pretty dang good. Plus, I learned how to make a tomato rose. Let me know if you need some traditional Vietnamese cuisine in your life!

20120917-185758.jpg

20120917-185807.jpg

20120917-185812.jpg

20120917-185856.jpg

First day in Saigon

14 Sep

Hello from Saigon! We arrived yesterday around 11AM and spent the entire day getting lost in the city. It’s honestly not even that big but I am a Plumly (for some reason, my mascota trusts my instincts here because I am a China).

The first place we went to was the Ben Thanh Market. They sell everything from food, coffee, and snakes in alcohol to clothes, purses and tiaras. For a snack here, we had a spring roll and fried egg roll. They were “meh.”

20120914-161352.jpg

Then for our lunch we went to this restaurant I had seen recommended on a blog I read while doing my food research. Again, just meh.

20120914-162138.jpg

We had rice with pork three ways and a fried egg. We had it with strawberry juice. They have juices everywhere and it’s amazingly fresh and refreshing when sweat is always dripping down your back. The BBQ pork was good but it also came with minced pork pie. My mascota and I each had one bite of the leftover parts pie and decided that was enough.

20120914-162534.jpg

20120914-163349.jpg

(this is my first blog – I have no idea why these pictures are coming out different sizes!)

We then walked in circles for a good hour trying to find the Reunification Palace (when North and South Vietnam reunified) but finally arrived with 12 minutes to close. On this adventure ( we literally were within two blocks of it the whole time) we saw the post office and the Du Bac Church. So, we gave up that idea and went to the War Remnants Museum instead. Obviously, important to see but also completely heart wrenching what people are capable of doing to each other. It really showed the continuing devastating effects of the war, including the births of children whose parents came into contact with Agent Orange – this is both for the Vietnamese people but also the American soldiers.

20120914-163721.jpg

We went to home rest after that. But, night fell and our stomachs growled again so out we went. And tried this:
20120914-165445.jpg

20120914-164850.jpg

20120914-164936.jpg

20120914-164958.jpg

Yes, they are chicken feet! And surprisingly crunchy and spicy. Admittedly, very little meat but the guy definitely cooked them with some good heat.

We then finished our night up with some 50 cent Saigon beers and passed the fuck out. Remember, we left Wednesday at 2am and by the time we crashed, it was 11pm Thursday night. More gordita pictures tomorrow!