post 6: on my own petard

Post 6:

A note on hypocrisy: fear not, dear reader, my own Olympian levels are not lost on me. Too true that I flee the skin color I bear (and occasionally bare); I scorn the traveler I am; were I to see my mythic double-going me saunter up to a food stall, I would shake my head, sad that I hadn’t walked far enough, and trudge on in search of more decay. Anthropology, gastronomic or otherwise, is a privilege, but more so is the ability to deceive yourself that you’ve outpaced your own identity, sloughed one skin and slid into a new, perhaps less white, less rich, less coddled. But don’t worry; I fool myself as little as I fool you.

Day 4, dinner

That said, I make exceptions for the white and sweet (the chaps, angel food cake, sarah…). So they come by, convinced now of my truffle-finding snout and the wisdom of following it (though my gait has proven to be a significant problem). It’s their last night, so I take them for crab claws
I saw in secret Saigon. Knowing that shell-crackers are a western luxury that this time we won’t be able to indulge, we all have molars on the mind as I lead them down the muddy path to tastiness. I also wanted to take them to the pho stand where I met Anne, but when we arrive it’s not there, no trace. We make up for it by sampling the gantlet (no typo -- we don’t eat gloves): the crab claws warmed on a grill and served with the omnipresent salt/pepper mixture (very yummy, but I can honestly say I far prefer the hassle-free bang for buck of shrimp); then Mick had the Fluf-tuber omelet, which he loved; Martin and I had liver pate banh mis (dangerous, but very very yummy), then a plate of Chinese-style fried noodles w/ greens (first leafy one I’ve had yet, ironically), and 4 different types of dumplings, which we ate in the bia hoi bar (and the beer was much better, pretty much draft PBR at $1/liter). That, my dearies, is eating a block.

We then retired to the cheaper, shittier, whiter, closer, but also, as long as they’re my company, more fun bia hoi bar on my block, where their abilities as English provincial drinkers are finally put on display.

I sleep soundly.

Day 5: Morning

For the first time, there isn’t one. I awake at 6 briefly, then sleep again till 10. Finally. Sleep, in the Bard’s words, “knits the raveled sleeve of care…” Indeed.

Day 5: Lunch

Final outing with the gents, we go to take the strolls Genevieve’s brother recommended and to eat another block, on his suggestion. When we get to the latter, it’s fancy and quiet, almost soporific at this point not being almost-mown by motorbike at every step, and at first we fear mistake, as there are no food stalls to speak of.

. A grill restaurant (not so good for Mick), then nothing till we come across the motherlode: a big spread with outdoor seating and thirty-odd dishes to choose from (it took me three pics to get it all)
I order us each a different fish dish so we can all share and taste everything. The winner, as is often the case, was the giant sardines. Oil might as well share a named with spoon; it is the flavor ladle, as we know, but occasionally that’s lost on me (though not on my brother, who has been bringing home rendered duck fat to cook all his meals in. Donations to Hillary’s purple heart fund can be sent directly to me…).

Interestingly, this meal costs about three times what the others have, but no real surprise. And it is pretty much the best thing yet; they’re both blown away, and since they’re leaving in a few hours, a happy guide am I.