ceF in vietnam – part 7
last post from the south

October 27th, 2010 · 17 Comments


the fishing boats of mui ne

i’m back in saigon after spending 4 days on the south china sea, or as they call it in vietnam, the east sea. there’s been no rain to speak of and the temps have been manageable as has the humidity. this is nothing short of pure luck so i thank the weather gods for being on my side – so far, so good…

before i forget, i learned something new today. ok, i learned a few new things today – like that vietnam is a little over twice the size as ny state (but visually quite svelte as one might expect from vn), but this? this is my favorite… i learned how to say "oh my god" in vietnamese! troi oi (troy oy). there you have it. but wait, there’s more! because for all you burgeoning buddhists out there the literal translation means "oh my buddha". is that not great? i can not begin to tell you how much this bit of knowledge has entertained me this afternoon. i plan on using it every chance i get. it even sounds yiddish. this is just too good.

and now, before we go any farther, back by popular demand…

my puppy

look at this face

and check out his little back legs…

i ate at that restaurant 3 days in a row just to hang with my boy and we totally bonded. he’d come trotting over at the sight of me and i fear that the little guy fell pretty hard. but i’m already more than well aware of how the long distance thing is just too difficult…

a piece of steamed fish and a bowl of rice. heaven…

so it was yet another of my turned around insomniac nights, probably around 2am or so and i’d eaten the fish and rice at about 4pm and i was suddenly very hungry. the desk in my room had a laminated menu boasting 24 hour room service but when i called i was told "closed". i asked if there was anywhere nearby that i could grab a late night bite and the woman said to me, "i come to your room". she actually said more than that but i couldn’t make any of it out except those words so i had no idea why she was heading this way but within a minute there came a knock on my door and a lovely smiling person was standing there with her arms outstretched offering me this bowl of fried rice – her dinner. she insisted. i said i could not possibly. she insisted. i said, how about i take half. she handed me the container and said her boyfriend brought it to her and that she was not hungry. i took it from her gratefully and ate most of it. and it was actually pretty good.

oh the people here…

this just cracks me up. constantly. if it’s not a door, it’s 6 huge sacks of rice or a live pig strapped onto the back – the possibilities of what gets carried on a scooter are limitless. but things need to get moved and cars are scarce.

a cemetery 

some random natural ravine close to the ocean. we drove by it and i gasped. so we backed up to have a look.

when i hired the jeep and driver i ddn’t know that it’d be a 1970 jeep. so 30 minutes into our drive it starts making a very bad noise. dude carry’s his tools with him and within 15 minutes it’s fixed. one thing i know for sure is that he’s not jewish.


the things one notices while one is waiting on a road in the middle of vietnam.

entering the dunes

check. that. out…

the wind was powerful…

off in the distance – just pale shapes – the sand was blowing like crazy

in the other direction… a mirage?

 diner that night. grilled oysters of a sort… 

this was our last time together and we played some more human/puppy games, he romped and bit my feet. i scratched his belly and his head and then when he crashed i wanted to snatch him up and take him home. 

but that was just not to be…

fishing boats in phan thiet

they only fish at night and never under a full moon

so these 9 or so cages filled with tropical birds are attached to this scooter. the owner’s feet are dangling out of the hammock tied up behind the communist propaganda billboard. and you know, you don’t get this just anywhere…

dragon fruit sold roadside on the way back from mui ne. it’s only been in saigon for about 25 years, originally from south america. i bought 2 for less than .40.

3 layers of baby chicks…

roadside lunch

went for a bowl of pho

comes with table salad above and a damn fine glass of ice tea

for $1.25. the rice noodles were fresh. the broth was excellent.

look! it’s the banana scooter truck!

michael calls this a saigon station wagon. there are 6 human beings on this scooter. 

dinner for me in my hotel room. i gave the second one bought from the roadside to the clerk at the front desk as i’m off to the airport to fly to danang to spend a week in hoi an before i move on to hue.

and i’m realizing that there’s not much in the way of food going on here lately. i just mostly grab some street food and go. but there will be more to come. 

i’m falling asleep at my keyboard… i must call it a night…


Tags: asian · travel

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melissa // Oct 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Love everything about this entry.

    Especially the puppy feet.

    But everything else too.

  • 2 laura // Oct 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Another magnificent vicarious experience. Thank you! Oh how I ached for you and puppy when you had to say goodbye.

  • 3 Terry Moran // Oct 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Enjoyed it all, Claudia…except for bidding your pup adieu. My favorite was the “saigon station wagon.” Couldn’t quite grasp what dinner was, but it was pretty.

  • 4 Colleen // Oct 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Troi Oi, that puppy was so cute! Thanks for continuing to share with us!

  • 5 Pam // Oct 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    What a wonderful update, Claudia. I don’t know that I could’ve left the puppy…

  • 6 Robert // Oct 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I’m noticing a slight lilt in your voice, is that the beginnings of a local accent? This promises to be good……

  • 7 Miguel // Oct 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I’m hooked on your postings because…you’re such a good writer. I spent a considerable amount of time years ago avoiding Vietnam…and now I wish to visit.

  • 8 ethel // Oct 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    TROI OY. Loving every word and each photo.
    Had a good laugh with the driver of the jeep having tools. Sand dunes are spectacular, the scooters etc. I think you’ll need a vacation when you come home, Isn’t it amazing what you have seen j 2 weeks. Can’t wait for your next post.
    REST !!!!!

  • 9 Peter // Oct 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Are you teaching them to say “Troy Vey?”

  • 10 Foodie at Fifteen // Oct 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    damn that bowl of rice noodles looks good

  • 11 Tim // Oct 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Claudia, my daughter would love that dog, should’ve brought him back to Saigon! Enjoying this blog, been here over 7 yrs so a bit jaded, good to read someone discovering Vietnam for the first time.

  • 12 Jeff // Oct 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Those “oysters” look like scallops to me….. but those dunes look awesome.

  • 13 Kruzon // Oct 29, 2010 at 12:25 am

    TROI OY. What nice Saigon pictures.

  • 14 Catherine // Oct 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Well, Claudia of Troy (oi) …more more more please more!! Totally loving everything about this and awed by your talent at telling the story

  • 15 yveala // Oct 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    if you can say troi oy – then your guide needs to learn to say oy vay!

    these are great…love all having to do with transportation – amazing!

  • 16 Lesley // Oct 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Troi oi is now officially in my vocabulary!

    I love the pictures of the sand. Wow.

  • 17 Alice Q. Foodie // Nov 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Puppy belly!!! That does it – I’m going straight out for a bahn mi and vietnamese coffee for lunch, then maybe over to the humane society. :)

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