Did some shopping today, needed to purchase some last minute odd's and end's for some family and friend's back at the ranch, T-shirt's, etc. Ben Thanh market down the street is a mecca for tourist stuff and brickabrack of all sorts. I also wanted to take additional shots at the seafood mart for my report. If you know what you're looking for, and a little haggling you can score. ( I'm starting to get pretty good at it here) their are bargains to be had. More about that later.
Right now, well let me back up a little. I missed lunch with the crew this after noon to shop, on the way back to the hotel, after scoring on some great bargains to augment my research, on the way back to the hotel, I developed a major thirst, tons of heat, I stopped for a brew at a little shack with a little older lady vendor who shared her umbrella and a big smile with me, then appeared a young lady smartly dressed and official looking who spoke to the proprietor, I grabbed my camera hoping she could catch a flick of me for prosperity, when I asked her to take the flick she balked at first, then agreed, turns out the lady proprietor is her mother, she agrees to take my picture, and in return I take one of them together, I give her my blog address and tell her to check it out later today, they will be on it! She's thrilled.
I then spot two round eye's walking by,( from Holland) I and asked them if there was any where close by non-Vietnamese to eat, guess what they ask me? Do you eat sushi! Do I EAT SUSHI ! Is a fat dog heavy, does a bear, well don't get me started. I said yes indeed I eat sushi. Well it turns out they are staying in the same hotel we're at and have seen us in the lobby a few time's. Without going into detail I explained, etc. etc. Well the sushi bar turn's out to be is a Vietnamese sushi bar about a block from the hotel, called "Tokyo Deli", I'm here now, and wow! I'm impressed, all Vietnamese employees, including the sushi chef. I introduce myself, and luckily one of the staff spoke English. When I presented my business card to the manager, things turned quickly, I was led up stairs to a private Tatami room that sat four, after I took off my shoes, well I won't get into detail, but if you're familiar at all with Japanese cuisine, I was made quite comfortable, and the food was exquisite! I ordered a "Bento Box" which consisted of mixed sashimi and grilled fish, in this case pompano and salmon. (135,000 VND, about $7.00 US ), is that a deal or what, at home $10.00 to $12.95 easy! Entree, miso soup, salad, 3 types of sashimi, rice, 2 sizable pieces of local grilled fish, AND, darn, I can't remember what it's called in Japanese, custard. I thought I was in heaven in Cambodia.
The manager keeps an eye on me like a hawk during my meal as I write this, and they make sure I'm not bothered by any distractions, the female wait staff are off to the side, looking around the corner like school girls laughing and giggling. (Now I know how Tony Bordain feels, oh! did I say that! Cool! ) AHHH, Chawanmushi, that's the custard, we do it at school when we cover Asian cuisine! Perfection, I was taught this dish by a master sushi chef years ago, Todo San, thank you!
Unfortunately the only English speaking person in the restaurant left for the day, and I wanted to interview the manager who doesn't speak English. Better luck next time, I may sneak in here again tomorrow before we leave.
Later this evening I decide to go solo, and go for a long walk, half way threw my walk the rains came, big time! For the last few day's my right knee is starting to go out (old tennis injury and age are creeping up on me) so I take a short cut back to the hotel, and guess where I find myself, back in front of the sushi bar! Darn sushi again for dinner! :)
Long story short, Brian and I are hard at work writing, and working on our project's, guess who call's, it's Rosie calling from Hanoi, to see how we are doing, to say good bye, and to thank us for our hospitality and kindness.( Later on, my plan to help her son accomplish his wish to become a chef!) It should be we, who should be thanking her for her help and hospitality while visiting her beautiful country, but that's the beauty of our profession, God I love my job!
It's almost 2:00am now and we have a long day ahead of us, tomorrow after a month without our families, long grueling bus rides, endless lectures and temple visits and many, many miles of untold stories and memories, at last, HOME.