The Incident

Two weeks of drinking a lot of beer and eating as many weird and wonderful dishes as humanly possible finally took its toll on my body in Hoi An. It was our last day there before an early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh city so we had our whole day planned. We spent the morning shopping then had lunch at a recommended restaurant (Morning Glory). Before we ate I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry but the menu was amazing and I couldn’t resist the look of the prawn curry which was fantastic. There was a small rodent incident but as it was on the floor as opposed to in the food I turned a blind eye. So overall great lunch.

Next we had some spare time to get some final fittings done before a cooking class later in the afternoon. We were sitting in the tailors waiting for Tom’s shirts to be delivered when all of a sudden I felt an urge like I’d never felt before. My future flashed before me and I am ashamed to say that in this premonition I was walking back to the hotel through the pretty streets of Hoi An in my new pants, that happened to be full of shit. All I could think to do was run so I garbled something to Tom who tried to direct me back (as I’m on autopilot when walking with Tom, he does the directions, I do the scouting for beer, ATMs or other exciting stops). I had to stop him mid sentence to say I’d take my chances. As I left all I could think of was how disappointing this situation was seeing as we’d just done laundry the day before. Yes, the domesticated woman in me was more concerned with the washing than the humiliating potential of walking home with poo pants.

I just want to make clear that I don’t think it had much if anything to do with the restaurant. In fact, I’d recommend it, as the food was excellent (service not so much mind you). I think that rich prawn curry was just the final straw before my body gave up on what I had been putting it through on this holiday. Fried rice for breakfast, giant all-you-can-eat buffets and the incessant heat had created a lethal cocktail which my body was keen to get rid of as soon as possible.

I made it about five minutes down the road before I realised that trying to reach the hotel was going to be futile at this point. As soon as I came across a halfway decent looking café I ducked inside and asked if I could use the facilities. The staff must have sensed my desperation as they waved me in without a word. When I emerged from the loo I thanked the man who’d let me in with the same gratitude you’d show the person who rescued you from a burning building. I then thrust a small amount of dong into his hand (sorry couldn’t resist writing that one) before gapping it quickly so as to avoid the sniggers of the staff.

This is just one example of the great hospitality we’ve experienced in Vietnam. Back home in New Zealand you’d have to at least buy something from a café and in Europe you’d basically have to offer up your first born before you could even dream of setting foot in the facilities so I was very grateful. After that, I now know why they call toilets “the happy house” here.

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