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peppers and guinea pigs

October 17, 2010

We’ve been in our apartment a week now, and it’s starting to feel like home. After several more trips to the Metro, the kitchen is stocked and we have just about all the utensils and gadgets we need.

I’ve cooked at home the last few nights. None of it has been very adventurous, and some of it was kind of bland, but we’re gradually locating the ingredients necessary to liven up a meal. It took me half the week to find salt. I still don’t have any pepper because I’m unwilling to pay $2.50 for a little thing of it. Many of the spices in the grocery stores I’ve been to are the same brands and bottles we have in the States with similar, if not higher, prices. I’m sure they are available in the markets. Another thing I need to find.

This week three of our American friends moved into the same building as us. Fortunately, one of them is Kari, the one other non-pilot in the group. I was really happy to be able to go grocery shopping and split packages of food with her. I made a salad last night with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil (with very tiny leaves,) a little onion, garbanzos, curly pasta, and after great deliberation, one tiny little green Thai pepper. I think that’s what it is anyway. I previously thought they were chilis, but after a lot of googling, I’m not sure. I don’t have the package, but may be able to track it down and get the name. They are extremely potent, and this morning when I woke up and rubbed my eye, I could feel a little burn from my finger.



Jonathan has been doing round trips to Hanoi for the last four days. Right now they are operating at a partial schedule while they work out the kinks and build publicity. It’s nice for them so they can get used to how everything works before they have to do quick turns and really long days. This week he leaves for work around 11am and is usually home by 7pm. He will normally work three days, with a standby/reserve day before or after, and then have three days off. Because of some schedule changes this week he worked all four days.

Tomorrow morning at 6:20am we should be on a plane headed to Dalat. It’s a town in the mountains about 135 miles north of here. When the French colonized Vietnam, they would go there to escape the heat of the city and built a lot of European-style chalets in the hills. They say it’s a place of perpetual spring.

I’m looking forward to seeing something new, but surprisingly anxious about venturing where no one in our group has gone yet. One of the benefits of moving to a foreign country with a group of people is that you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. Every time we get together for lunch or dinner, we share places we’ve gone, places we shouldn’t have gone, cabs, restaurants, and markets to avoid, and where to get the best and worst deals. Evidently it’s out turn to be the group guinea pig now.

Currently reading: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Charlotte permalink
    October 22, 2010 21:17

    Hi Grace,
    Sounds like u guys are really enjoying your adventure. your blog is so well written and detailed, you should consider writing a book about the country.

    Thanks for thinking about me. Looking forward to reading more.



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