Monday, July 25, 2011

nước cốt dừa tươi

SATURDAY 23rd July

Katie asked me to blog more often, so this will be seemingly insignificant things that happen... Like the other day when I walked down to the corner of the lane to wait for Helle to pick me up to go out to lunch... it was a really hot day and as soon as I appeared several people offered to get me a taxi, or a xe-om. The lady who sells tea on the corner where Mr Cuong hangs out came over trying to tell me he was busy , but would be back soon. All the while, I'm shaking my head and trying to mime that my friend was coming in a car to pick me up (in retrospect I think my driving a car looked a bit more like driving a truck, but they got the picture).  So then the security guard who watches the motorbikes parked outside the restaurant offered me a seat in the shade with him. He's very friendly and always gives a cheery wave when I go past. So I sat down with him in the shade just as Mr Cuong rode up. Again I had to explain that I was waiting for a friend... Then a man I haven't seen before came over from the restaurant with a big glass of warm sweet mint tea for me. So that's how Helle found me when she came.. sitting on a plastic stool on the pavement surrounded by motorbikes, enjoying the company of the security guard (who speaks no English). Like Helle commented:  Don't you just love Vietnam?  That simply wouldn't happen in my country.

There has been a lot of coming and going at the house next door, with meetings and meals and laughter. I think it's being rented as a pyramid selling training base. Anyway, when I came home from lunch it was stinking hot, yet these two girls were out in the blazing sun washing up the lunch dishes...

Twice this week we've had violent thunder-storms during the night. Both times I've slept through it, oblivious.  Yesterday morning when I went downstairs into the kitchen there was water on the floor halfway along the big room. The rain must have been so heavy the water built up in the laneway nextdoor and came through the wall!  And on both occasions our staffroom flooded, so we arrived at work to the stench of dirty, saturated carpet. After it happened the second time, they pulled up the carpet... and once the floor tiles that were underneath are cleaned off and we'll be right.

Today after the morning classes I decided to buy a fresh coconut milk nước cốt dừa tươi (that's kulau in pidgin!) from the vendor outside the school. Mr Cuong rode up just as the man was chopping the top off and he saw me pay 30,000 dong for it. As we drove home he shook his head and said 'ba mươi đã qua' (30,000 too much), 'hai mươi OK!' (20,000 OK).  So next time I will have to bargain for a better price! Either way, it was delicious..

SUNDAY, 24th July

I haven't had to walk home very often lately because two of the younger security guards at work usually drive me home. I think they earn more in that 5 minutes than they do in an hour at work, so we're all happy. But sometimes neither of them are rostered on, and I have to walk home. Last night was one of those nights. I was later getting away because I was helping two of our young TA's prepare for a demo class at uni tomorrow. It was a very hot night and I was really plodding by the time I got here at about 10:30pm ...
all hot and sweaty...

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