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Looking on the bright side

November 15, 2010

After all the complaining I’ve done about how weird and difficult things are here, I thought I should mention a few of the nice and easy things Saigon has to offer.

Today is Jonathan’s Saturday, so we took a cab to meet one of our friends near the Ben Thanh Market for lunch. The entire area is very touristy so it isn’t hard to find palatable, if sometimes boring and expensive, food. Lunch was pretty good, but then we moved on to a little coffee shop called The Princess and the Pea. I would have never found it on my own. We had to wait to go down the alley because two motorbikes were coming through, and there wasn’t room to pass. Then we climbed at least six gray flights of stairs, the only indication of life being framed pictures every once in a while and a few empty birdcages.



When we finally got to the shop, we took off our shoes, passed a tiny kitchen, and entered the shop. We were led to our table where we sat on purple velvet cushions. The shop was brown and divided into four rooms that reminded me of a dollhouse. The openings between the rooms had curtains on them, and the decorations were so interesting it took me a while to settle in. We were brought iced green tea in mugs on flowered, corduroy coasters.  The menus had matching corduroy covers.



I decided to branch out and got a cucumber, mint, and honey smoothie. Jonathan’s was strawberry and grapefruit. The smoothies and the quiet, adorable shop were a refreshing change of pace.



We spent the afternoon wandering around the city, and Jonathan got a haircut at a place our friend had already visited. It is a salon on steroids. We only made it to the second floor and there were three rows of five or six styling stations. I saw a Vietnamese girl with blond hair that I envied, but in spite of our best efforts I was unable to find out if they could duplicate the color on me. She spoke no English and the man who did said it took a very long time for the color. Something about three weeks… If our conversation was that confusing I didn’t want to find out what they would do to my hair.

Our next stop was a Czech brewery where we watched professional wrestling on the big screen and tried their flavors. They were a little better than the local stuff but we weren’t impressed.



Before heading home, we headed toward the Annam Gourmet Market. We were sidetracked on the way by the smell of a bakery (or I should say Jonathan was.) We left with a tasty baguette (or Jonathan said it was after he ate the whole thing,) and I got away with a bag of chocolate and vanilla meringues.

When we finally made it to the market, we splurged on a bag of Kettle brand black bean tortilla chips, a jar of Old El Paso guacamole, some Pepperidge Farm Double (dark) Chocolate Chunk cookies, and some Prosecco. It’s Jonathan’s birthday week. He’s difficult enough to shop for back home, and here it’s impossible. The least we can do is keep his stomach happy.

So now, after flipping through all the stations, we’re watching “Last Train from Gun Hill.” The air conditioner and the fan are on, we’re getting fat on chips and guac (the baguette and meringues are long gone,) and thinking to ourselves “what a wonderful world.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tanya permalink
    November 15, 2010 13:25

    It looks like you guys had a great day! I loved the little coffee shop and the bakery and I am glad you find a respite in the midst of the craziness. Love you both, can’t wait for you guys to show us around 😉

  2. Charity permalink
    November 15, 2010 15:06

    I just adore that coffee shop!! Very unique… Sounds like a relaxing time. 🙂

  3. Mary Holby permalink
    November 15, 2010 21:52

    It is interesting to see how your day and blog became more and more Western.Words and pics. Eventually ending with a Western!

  4. Jonathan permalink
    November 15, 2010 22:00

    The movie was great! Just another classic western with a honorable cowboy as the hero, Kirk Douglas. The night was definitely a splurge as far as food goes but it left us both with smiles and round bellies. There are many more things Grace will write about in her blogs that are wonderful about Viet Nam, she’s just touched the tip of the iceberg. Love the writing babe keep it up! I’m very proud of you. This will be the perfect journal for the little ones to keep track of our lives in Viet Nam;)

    • November 15, 2010 22:01

      Little ones! You must mean Vietnamese people….

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