Off topic things first…
An enormous happy 50th birthday to my dear Dad (yesterday)! He never does any big celebrating, and always claims his birthdays ended when mine started. So he’s still 24. Younger than me now. Right. Onward. Being far away doesn’t mean I’ll relinquish my duty to publicly announce how old you’re getting and that Bozo and I still love you (and your ever-changing hair) anyway.
For the win
I know at least one of you has dreamed of being part of something that goes viral on the Internet. Don’t lie, I know it’s true deep down in there. Well, my day of reckoning has arrived, although I won’t flatter myself by actually calling this viral. Who knows how many people would really want to read this anyway. Back to the point.
A friend of mine shared one of those run of the mill, kinda-sorta-but-who-really-knows-if-it-went “viral” articles on my Facebook wall, joking that he’d spotted something like us on a list of “People Who Fail at Taking Selfies”. Only he wasn’t kidding. A photo of yours truly, J-Mar and BFFL appeared at #11 on this list, mocking us for not knowing that “water is clear” and “magnifies things”. If you don’t want to dredge through the list of 16 of our selfie-“fail” comrades (feels great to be compared to someone selfie-ing while taking a crap), here’s a screenshot.
Lesson learned – reinforced, rather: Murphy’s Law + the Internet = whatever photo you don’t love of yourself but decide to post anyway because it was awkward and funny, will, in fact, be shared with thousands of strangers on the Internet. Embrace it and be 1) flattered that someone was so entertained by your small slice of the Internet that they decided to steal your pixels and 2) thankful you weren’t naked. 😛
Real stuff – on topic
Oh yeah, the Vespas and stuff. So to cap off our trip to Vietnam, we headed to the Mekong Delta for one last scooter and food journey. This time, we’d be cooking ourselves and riding retro Vespas.
One of our first stops was yet another market, this one teeming with organs on large metal plates. Lots of organs. Eyes be warned.
And also some shrimp vendors who had some interesting generator set-ups pumping oxygen for the little guys. Assuming this helps keep them more fresh? We learned a little about shrimp farming on this tour, but alas I have forgotten every word spoken about it.
That’s okay because the most important thing to take away from this was that I look cute riding a Vespa. Right? Isn’t that what everyone is learning here? Wow, my Internet non-fame is so getting to my head.
Maybe it’s writer’s block, but I am seriously lacking descriptive descriptions and all-around interesting words today. Hence the serious self-mockery above. (Confession: I just had to Google for a synonym of sarcasm. Soooo winning today.) Below, I give you, the pig farm, the rice wine shots, and the incense lady:
Actually, she’s worth more than those few words. Today’s lesson in microeconomics… this woman has to rent-to-own this machine from the incense-selling company in order to make a living producing incense sticks. I remember our guide telling us her max output in any given day is something like $2.00? And that’s a good day, where she makes some ungodly amount of sticks, like 10,000 or something. Each one has to be hand-thread through the machine, and the material used to coat the sticks (aka the actual incense) is handmade by her as well, and it has to be just the right consistency or she has to start all over. This trial-and-error process takes at least a few minutes before she can get going on a batch of sticks.
To cap it off, she has to put aside some of this up-to-$2-a-day money just to pay the company to let her have the machine. I think the guide said she’s close to being paid off, but jeesh, it’s moments like these that make Thanksgiving itself seem ungrateful. I might start using “the value of 5,000 incense sticks” as a new cliche.
On the upside, I captured some of my favorite photos from our travels to date as we continued our journey through the delta. Stopping to watch the manual rice harvest with the sun in that just-right afternoon light is seared in my mind.
After enjoying our afternoon cruise through the dirt roads, we stopped off for some grub, which we would make ourselves. We were greeted by a playful pup (we can’t escape them and I won’t deny that I love it!) to commence our cooking class. First on the menu were fresh spring rolls. We’re becoming experts at rolling techniques. I mean… the food kind.
Bok choy goes well with sauteed shrimp, you know. If you ever try it, you should make your spouse take a picture of you jovially enjoying shrimp with chopsticks, or your experience won’t be anywhere near complete.
Oh oh oh! We made some of those yummy little scallops we tried on the XO tour! I could eat those all day. The pineapple fried rice, served in a pineapple (shocker!) was also very delicious. And now I can add to my super-valuable-life-skills list, “knows how to properly cut out the inside of a pineapple”.
In all, I’d give this tour (run by Vietnam Vespa Adventures) between a 3 and 4 out of 5. I don’t know if we were vespa-ed out or if it was the semi-dreary weather or just that our other tours in Vietnam were more on the mind-blowing, 6 out of 5 level. This one was quite delicious and all-around fun, but didn’t knock our socks off. I wore sandals anyway.
Check out the video below if you’re interested in more action. Sorry about the bouncy portion. GoPro mount fail.
With that, I can close the chapter on our first trip to Vietnam. I’d be infinitely more sad about this fact if I didn’t have a second trip on the horizon. Northern Vietnam, we’re coming for you soon and I absolutely cannot wait. Just can’t.