Friday 19 Feb. A free lunch in Nha Trang

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 19th, 2010

The restaurants around the hotel specialize in fresh sea food. In the early morning the fishermen sell their catch right in front on the beach. These fisherman fish in small boats near shore with throw nets and bring their catch up on the beach in their basket boats. The catch is fished out of the nets on the beach and the plastic bags, beer bottles and unwanted small fish, crabs and crustaceans are left to smell on the beach. Thursday I had that wonderful eel lunch, last night I had small squids broiled in aluminum foil over a charcoal fire on the beach. It was broiled in a superb sauce and herbs and then rolled in thin rice paper sheets with fresh lettuce, cucumber, mint. I sat on these kids play house chairs and a tiny table right on the beach with the surf breaking and washing the dinner down with a Tiger beer. I thought that I was going to be able to boast to the tourists that that I had eaten with the locals at this great bargain but it ended up at 78,000 dong or about $ 4.00, so, I didn’t.  Yesterday for lunch, in town, the boss had time to talk and I brought out my 1962 Vietnamese driver license. When the bill came he reduced it by about 20%: “You get the Vietnamese menu prices!”  The Vietnamese women want me back at age 24, when the picture was taken on the below driver license. This means that I have to come back to Vietnam in 2053.  Because an ocean sailor rejuvenates one year for every year on the ocean. I started in 2005.  After dinner I sat with Brent, the California/Texan on his ocean view balcony here in the hotel, same floor. He and his wife Sunny are going back to China, via Hoi An, Hanoi, tomorrow.  This morning I rode the bike to the northern edge of Nha Trangh. I met 6 young French ladies and Jean along the ocean boulevard. They are volunteers, teaching French in Saigon to disadvantaged and handicapped children, sent out by a French Catholic Charitable organization. I hope to get together with them in Saigon, before my departure. And I like to ask Jean some questions. Like how did he manage to get rid of the other guys??

O.k, the free lunch. I came upon these seven men having a party. So I had to take a picture. Next thing, by now no longer a total surprise, I am invited. They are honoring the memory of their deceased mother, aunt. How I wished I knew more Vietnamese. They did not speak but three words of English. The food was outstanding, so was their company. On leaving I was given an incense stick to add to the others and make my lotus hands bows to the mother/aunt.  I wish I would have my kids and nephews/nieces do this for me, when I pass away. Have a great party and eat good food. But then they might need to take up ocean sailing to be there when I kick the bucket at 150 years or more. The Vietnamese are absolutely # 1.  I will always love them for how well they have treated me.

 

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