Spring R&R 2011 – Vietnam

Nikki and Jean at Cuc Gach Quan
Nikki and Jean at Cuc Gach Quan
Morning brought a wakeup call from Mickey…”hee hee, big doings today, time to wake up!” which was a very weird thing. Normally I love Mickey, but not at 5:45 in the morning. We roused the kiddos, gathered our things and got a speedy taxi to the airport. Eleanor’s eye was on the mend! Passports, pre-approved VISAs in hand, we secured our seats together and checked in our luggage. We grabbed a quick mocha and some Internet access before jumping on our flight out of Hong Kong, allowing me to Google driving directions from The airport in Ho Chi Minh City to our lunch destination.
Jean sips a
A quick hop over to Vietnam brought us to the tropical Ho Chi Minh City (née Saigon, GMT +7), and after a lengthy VISA stamping process, we exited the airport, luggage in a locker, to have lunch with a friend of Jean’s from A-100 and her husband. We haggled mightily with some taxi drivers and finally settled on a fare. (20,000 VND: 1 USD). The modern, air conditioned car crept across the 6km of distance in traffic, passing motorbikes, their drivers clad in colorful baseball hat-style helmets. The bicycle carts were reversed from Kathmandu, the “cart before the horse” as it were, their drivers in the “wok”-style reed hat seen in so many caricatures. Town was cleaner than Kathmandu, though there were still vehicles going everywhere, the main difference being that the roads were wide enough to accommodate motorbikes, bicycles and cars, and that there seemed to be no public transports, so no tuk tuks or busses causing stops in traffic!
The kiddos feeding fish and hearts at Cuc Gach Quan
The kiddos feeding fish and hearts at Cuc Gach Quan

We made it without mishap to Cuc Gach Quana serene restaurant Nikki recommended to us. The staff of the restaurant were enamored with our kids, and took them to feed the fish in the pond between front and rear buildings. Nikki and Evan regaled us with life in Ho Ci Minh City, and Nikki and Jean related their work experiences. We sipped on a cool, refreshing “coc”, pronounced COP, seemingly a lemon juice and vegetable puree or blend, sipped through a vegetable stem. We then feasted on deep fried tofu encrusted with fried garlic bits, fish in passion fruit sauce, sautéed morning glories, sautéed pumpkin blossoms, brown rice, fresh spring rolls, and chicken. All the food was amazing! Evan and I had Saigon Export Beer…with ice in mugs as the locals do…weird, but good.
Lunch at Cuc Gach Quan
Lunch at Cuc Gach Quan
After some good conversation and food, it was time to make our way back to the airport. We bid Nicky and Evan adieu and thanked them for the excellent lunch date.
In another 30 minutes we were back at the airport, retrieved our luggage and got our seats assigned and exit immigration done! Mama and Dada feasted on mint milanos and hot drinks while the kiddos enjoyed chocolate-filled crunchy bear cookies. We met some Canadians traveling to Cambodia as well, and boarded the plane. Not quite so fancy or large a plane as the prior ones, this Cathay Pacific operated flight was just a one-hour hop over to our next stop….CAMBODIA!
Casualties: nothing of significance spilled, nothing broken or ruined!

One Reply to “Spring R&R 2011 – Vietnam”

  1. Just caught up on your blog. Love the descriptions of life in Nepal and your whirlwind
    R&R! Amazed you got to squeeze in lunch in Vietnam too!

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