North Korea, South Korea, the American Civil War, if you Google, “North/South Rivalries” the first links you get are, “Australian Regional Divides,” “North-South Divide – England,” and “Why is there … Continue reading Vietnam: North Versus South, the Oldest Rivalry in the Books
Vietnamese Coffee (ca phe sua) is an amazing thing – smooth, thick, layered with condensed milk, it goes down like a caffeinated version Mexican hot chocolate, it feels bad for … Continue reading The Secret to Vietnamese Coffee
Normally when people get “cement shoes” it means that they’ve ended up on the wrong side of the mafia and on the receiving end of a cement mixer. In my … Continue reading We Went Hiking And I Got A Shoe Full Of Cement
You know when you can’t sleep at night and you just toss around like a lumpy sack of potatoes? And then you realize that you probably shouldn’t have had coffee at 3pm? Especially not when you’ve been a tea drinker for years and this entire year has been such a caffeine-lessened year your body might as well just be full of water?
Well, after Vietnamese coffee (which is delicious) the experience of being a lumpy sack of potatoes gets hightened into being a lumpy sack of potatoes that knows it’s destined for the slicer and the frier.
It was 3am, we were waking up early to ride motorbikes from Hoi An to Hue, an 8 hr journey, “the same one the Top Gear guys did.” It would take us around the Marble Mountains, through the 32 km of gorgeous Da Nang Beach and then way, way up into the Hai Van Pass (ocean-cloud pass).
It was 3am and my brain was telling me not to get on the bike. To be clear, I wasn’t even driving the bike. I was merely riding it while someone else, someone very experienced was driving it. My brain was envisioning itself being flung off the Pass, my body rolling down the hill like that sack of potatoes. My brain was saying that if I don’t die, tomorrow will definitely be the last day that I walk.
Good thing whoever was reading those coffee beans did a bad job, because I didn’t get flung off the Pass, and I am still walking, and except for about an hour where I kept saying to myself, “try and remember what walking feels like in case this really is the last day,” it went great and I loved it.
So everyone, face your fears (even the nonsensical ones) and to all the governments out there, if you’re looking for a new torture device, I’ve got a cheap method to sell you.
PS – I did this trip with my parents, and they had none of these fears, A) they are (mostly) immune to the effects of coffee and B) they are way cooler than me
Hoi An, Vietnam – the cutest town that there ever was is perfect for a (probably culturally inappropriate) romantic comedy with a budget big enough to travel. The hallmark of … Continue reading Situations in Vietnam that Would Make Good Meet-Cutes in a Romantic Comedy
“There is no one left on the train” said my father as my mother and I looked up from our game of cards.
We looked at him weirdly and then got out of our cabin to inspect the situation.
Indeed, the train was empty. As if Murder on the Orient Express had just happened en masse, and in the game of “whodunnit” the only suspects would be “Ms Short, and Mr & Mrs Parents.”
Luckily, before we could fully contemplate our fate: Vietnamese prison or endless days walking along a section of track whose GPS coordinates were stubbornly not communicating with Google – two men appeared.
They said something in Vietnamese, obviously we did not understand. They typed it into a version of Google Translate, “must get off the train here, take a bus and then get back on the train.”
“So that’s what all those announcements were” said the imaginary cloud bubbles above our heads.
Our rescuers smiled at us as what was happening dawned on us: either the train had broken down, or, part of the track needed to be fixed after the typhoon last week.
Two seconds later, another English speaking couple (the only other English speaking couple) peered out of their cabin. Our rescuers asked us if we would speak English to them and explain – it was like a giant game of Telephone being played with real telephones – a lot was lost in translation – the couple didn’t want to leave because they had small sleeping children with them.
Eventually, we all made it off the train, rejoined the rest of our fellow night-train travellers, waited for our bus to arrive, got on the bus and then made it to the next train, where luckily, eight hours later, someone knocked on our door and told us to get out – at, luckily, the right stop.
“What do you feel like eating for dinner?” “Something cheap” “Lobster?” A town where lobsters are not only plentiful, but also cheap street fare is like a foodie version of … Continue reading A Town Where Lobster is Cheaper Than Pizza