Last night we were not very hungry but thought we'd better eat something, just in case. The young man at the receptionist asked where we were going to eat dinner. We asked him if he had any suggestions for something close to the hotel. He asked if we like Vietnamse food. Then directed us to "food street" around the corner. It was a little street we had walked past several times but never went down it. It was full of nothing but one little sidewalk kitchen after another. While trying to decipher the menu in front of one kitchen, I said to Matt, I wonder what chim is? A young woman said to me, chim is bird. And then she proceeded to translate the rest of the small menu for us.
We asked her if we could join her for dinner and she agreed. We then talked about lots of things and asked her lots of questions. I found out that:
Her name is Huong (accent marks). She is an accountant, her husband is an architect
She has been married 9 months. She would like to have a baby soon. (Her inlaws want one now).
Almost all Vietnamese women have their babies in a hospital. The cost is about $200 in a state hospital, $1200 in an international hospital. They don't have midwives. They do not do ultrasounds. By three months they usually know the sex of the baby. If it's big, it's a boy, if it's small, it's a girl.
She says the traffic stresses her out but learning to drive was not scary. I tried to think of all the things I wished I could ask an English speaking Vietnamese person. But of course, you can't think of everything on the spot. I did find out it's not customary to tip in Vietnamsese restaurants, only the ones that cater to foreigners. Yesterday at the beer garden I tried to leave a tip and they refused!
She also told us that Mong with the accent marks is pronounced like "muom".
My favorite thing she told us was that Maya has a face like a boy. It's naughty. I love that!
Huong is very kind. She bought Maya the balloon. She talked to and bought 2 packs of gum from a girl selling gum on the street (she gave us one pack). It reminded me of my favorite part of traveling. It's not the museums or the points of interest. And although I love the food and the warm weather, that's not my favorite part either. It's the connections we make with other human beings that make a trip memoriable. Thank you Huong!
This little boy enjoyed running up to Matt, shouting something in English at him, then run away laughing. He would run back to his table and ask his sister what to say next. His sister joined us for this photo.
Yesterday when Maya woke up from her nap, she played a little, then suddenly became upset about something and wanted to be picked up. She clung to me tightly and sucked her thumb for the next 30 minutes. Would not let me change her diaper or reposition her. After a while she came out of it, played some more, then gave me 3 kisses! We knew she could kiss because she kisses herself in the mirror all the time (again, that healthy self-esteem I talked about). She kissed her stuffed bunny and bear (right before she threw them out of her crib). We were wondering when we would finally get a kiss. Matt got his kisses during last night's dinner.