Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Dinner at Hà’s

If, by chance, you find yourself invited to dinner at a traditional Vietnamese home where a “Western” dinner has been prepared in your honor, it is highly advisable that you do not correct the cook that spagetti is typically served in America without fish sauce.

If, by chance, you also happen to be vegetarian, when most of the meal — including the vegetable soup — contains meat, it is highly advisable to stick mainly to the ‘coleslaw’ which is composed of purple cabbage and mayonnaise.

If, by chance, you find yourself invited to a slumber party, it is highly advisable to remember to bring pajamas lest you need to borrow some from the host; it is highly likely the host is invariably half your size, resulting in your borrowing of her mother’s pajamas, resulting in a flurry of giggles from everyone present.

If, by chance, your host asks you repeatedly if you have to go to the bathroom, tell her yes, you do, and proceed to the bathroom knowing she is offering for you to shower before bed.

If, by chance, you desire to thank the parents of the house for their hospitality, try practicing first the correct tone — otherwise, you may have just called the mother of the house ‘cow’ and the father of the house ‘grandmother.’

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What I Like Best

What I like most about Vietnam is that no one will judge you for squatting on the side of the road to eat soup while wearing Hello, Kitty plastic sandals and pajamas.

They may do a double take for you being a blonde plastic-shoe-wearing, pajama-sporting, soup-squatter, but certainly not for the China-made children’s flip-flops you’re wearing.

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Q & A

Question by Shanni: Do you have any kind of drink in Vietnam like Gatorade? I have to replace my blood sugar level.

Answer by Hà: What is Gatorade? A kind of cake?

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The Joy of Being a Tourist

You never know which of the following is intentional or accidental: Crab in the potato chips; Ants in the bread; Vinegar in the honey; Leeches in the plum sauce; Shrimp in the salt.

(I’ll give you a hint: All but one of those things is intentional)

§377 · October 1, 2007 · Couch-hop, Location-Location · · [Print]

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