Thursday, December 20, 2007


I am still slightly drunk. The title for this Update is "How to lose weight, even while eating." Ho Chi Minh City was pretty hot today; and I spent the day walking around outside. By dinnertime, I was spent, sweaty, and wondering if the ever-present smell of Saigon was actually coming from me. I decided to eat at Green Chili, a Viet slash Japanese fusion place a few blocks down our street. Here is what I ordered: mixed vegetables soup (small), eel boiled in steamboat (for one person), and Japanese sake (hot). The sake was the sweet stuff they serve around here, but I'm getting used to it. The soup was wonderful, though redundant, ultimately. It was very hot in the restaurant, but I'd sat myself strategically under a wall-mounted oscillating fan. Here is what a steamboat is: a sombrero-sized stainless hotpot with a wide brim. The brim is where the kitchen balances lotus, basil, and other greens, while chunks of cloven eel float in the hat. The whole thing sits atop a paraffin burner. This was set on fire once the contraption was erected on the table before me. Ironically, the act of lighting a fire on one's table, on a warm night, makes it necessary to turn off the oscillating fan. Fabulous: the boiling eel steam just hovered over me while I gulped down spicy food. Prizefighters should try this: I could feel the pounds trickling down the my back, the backs of my knees, everywhere. I tried to order some ice cold something, anything, but my lack of language skills interfered and I got yet more boiling hot sake. I guess I'm adjusting to the weather here--since this didn't kill me outright--although being twice as drunk as I was expecting probably helped out.* [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

The blog, as posted, is only version A. During my dinner tonight, two distinct 299 word concepts appealed to me, so as an extra feature for those who read the comments section, I've decided to include version B as well:

The theme of this Update is shyness. Sunshine worked late tonight. I bypassed my usual bachelor dinner tradition at Deli Saigon (I ate there Tuesday) in favor of the restaurant beside it: a place with an indecipherable label and large green neon chili logo. According to the menu, it's called Green Chili. I walked down the opposite side of my street to avoid directly bypassing Deli Saigon, shy about today's temporary rejection. I had extra cash in my pocket that was supposed to go toward Christmas shopping. Here is what I ordered: mixed vegetables soup (small), eel boiled in steamboat (for one person), and Japanese sake (hot). My waitress was very efficient and super nice. She pulled the obligatory package of wet-naps out of my hands to open it for me; never let me pour my own wine. It turns out a steamboat is quite a contraption, which she patiently assembled and set on fire for me. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, there. Once, after wrestling the sake bottle from my hands again, she told me I made her shy. I understand: it's tough to be on the spot. She's in charge of my good time, and I force her to perform in an awkward new way. Eventually, she left me in someone else's hands. I thought she was switching to another table, but later saw her in her street clothes, walking a small girl up the road. I tried to order an ice cold drink, but my lack of language skills interfered and I got yet more sake, doubling the expense of an already pricey meal--pricier after I tipped profusely. On my own way back up the road, the Deli Saigon guys waved as I passed by, all past transgressions forgiven, forgotten. [Cavin]

Friday, December 21, 2007 1:27:00 AM  

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