Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

Happy Leap Day! I saw more of today than I usually do, actually getting up early this morning after successfully reorganizing my schedule to be a better host. Sunshine, of course, went to work this morning; and after an espresso in our building's lounge, Bet and I went out to walk up and down the street getting her a little used to Hồ Chí Minh City: the layout of District One, the look of the place, the crazy traffic. While we didn't get around to a lot of tourist things today, it was very much a tourist experience for me. I was able to drop back into a frame of mind where I recognized the city as I saw it four long months ago--while at the same time registering just how comfortable I've become crossing busy streets and how much I've learned about Vietnam in that time. Whiling away the blisteringly sunny morning, much warmer than the evenings this time of year, I pointed out notable landmarks (consulates, parks, restaurants, streets), shouting myself hoarse over the background. After eleven we stopped for some coffee at Sunshine's office building, and at lunchtime the three us did the one touristy thing we did all day long: grab a quick bowl of lunch in the crowded Bến Thành branch of Phở 2000. We ate upstairs, in a green tiled room overlooking the traffic circle, and shared our large round table with three Chinese parts dealers. Travelers seemed to make up most of the clientele up there. Pictures of Bill Clinton posing with the restaurant staff lined the glazed walls. My bowl of vegetarian soup cost about half the price of the latte I drank earlier. It was quite good. Our visitor kicked off her culinary travels with the traditional Phở. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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