My first plate of food. I don’t know what I was thinking, either.
Today was pretty chill. We got to sleep in until 10:30 or so if we wanted, brunch scheduled for 10:45. I ended up waking at around 8 or 8:30 and not falling back asleep, so I wasted time on the internet, for the most part. Probably writing the blog that I had post-dated as being submitted Monday (since it was Tuesday here). The restaurant we ate at was another chain of the buffet place we had gone to last night, but apparently the nicest one out of the chains. It certainly seemed nicer. The first 30 minutes after arriving was spent being introduced to Theresa’s relatives and waiting for more to arrive. I think we had maybe 15-20 people total once everyone arrived.
We probably started eating around 11 or 11:15, but we didn’t leave until 1:30 or so because the adults were enjoying their conversation too much. The food served was the same, for the most part, but the company was completely different. This time, we had a relative named Andy sit in our area of the table and talked to him the whole time. This guy was much better than last night’s egotistical maniac. He likes playing video games and said that he’s played a video game for pretty much 3 days straight without doing anything else but eating and crashing. He was also more humble and didn’t dominate the conversation — more our type of company. He even gave us the names of some good places to eat, but we ended up not going to them.
What my first plate looked like after I ate all the stuff on top. A majority of it was sushi.
After the first plate of various foods, I stuck to what I liked. The sushi, unfortunately, was not that appetizing. I really liked the fries and was surprised to see them in the first place. I liked the seasoning, and they were really crunchy, but it was weird because they were kinda hollow on the inside. I wasn’t very hungry after my first plate of food due to all the sushi.
I think I visited the buffet maybe 2 more times, the last being my dessert stop. They had ice cream and a chocolate fondue fountain to top ice cream with melted chocolate. I found it to look better than it tasted, but the ice cream was definitely one of the better desserts.
I think one of my favorite things was the freshly grilled pineapple — we’ve also had quite a few dishes that have pineapple in them, and I’ve taken a great liking to them.
The exfoliating coffee ground scrub felt good and smelled amazing.
After we finished eating, the adults decided to sit and talk and enjoy themselves, so we actually didn’t get back to the hotel until around 2. Theresa and Evan decided to walk around the old quarter by themselves, while Quan and I took naps. At around 6:30, Theresa and Evan got back; after that, Theresa and I went to a spa to get mani/pedis.
Since this was my first time getting a mani/pedi, it took me a while to decide on what I wanted. The fact that the receptionist kept trying to up-sell us stuff didn’t help, either. Eventually, I settled on the spa pedicure with a complimentary French pedicure for my feet, and then a manicure with nail art for my hands. Theresa also got a spa pedicure, but got nail art on her feet and then a French manicure for her hands. Altogether, my stuff was about 440,000, which translates to $22 US dollars.
The spa pedicure began with a cinnamon-water foot soak followed by coffee grounds exfoliating scrub. Afterwards, my legs (up to the knee) and feet were massaged for about 10-15 minutes. Unfortunately, I hadn’t shaved my legs for a few days, so my masseuse was surprised when she started on my legs, followed up by a suggestion that I get my legs waxed. I’m not too averse to trying out a waxing, but I felt like I’d already spent a good amount of money on myself, and we didn’t have time for that (we told Quan and Evan that we’d come back for dinner at 8).
My fancy nail art. It only cost 90k ($4.50) for all my nails. Painting the designs only took the manicurist 5-10 minutes to complete.
Throughout our appointment, we had one woman doing both mine and Theresa’s hands, and one person each doing our feet. They talked to each other in Vietnamese (which is apparently exactly what they do in the US) and occasionally tried talking to us. Only the receptionist new English really well, so we weren’t able to really converse with them. Most of the time, we just talked to each other. What surprised me is that sometimes our manicurist would respond to something the others said in a really soft-spoken (kind of muttering) way, but from what I remember, the others were able to hear her just fine. I was sitting maybe two feet away and with her facing me and could only barely hear her, so I was definitely impressed.
By the time we were both done and all our nails were dry, it was approximately 8:15, so as soon as we paid, we high-tailed it back to the hotel to pick up the boys for dinner. The first place we tried was the night market, which I had been to last year. It was different from what I remembered — when I went, the streets were blocked off from traffic and merchandise tents were lined up along both the sides and the center of the streets. This time, only the sides of the streets were occupied by merchandise tents, and I assume that they only block off the streets for the weekends. In any case, once we saw that the food tents only had hot pot (it’s crazy how people will eat it in the heat of summer), we decided to go to Legend Beer.
Evan ordered a liter (I don’t remember what kind of beer he ordered), Theresa and Quan both got a half liter of the blonde beer, and I got a puny 300 ml.
Legend Beer is both a bar and and restaurant and was located only 5-10 minutes away from our hotel (on foot). We’d seen quite a few people drinking/eating there when driving past in taxis during other times of the day, so we figured it was probably a pretty good place. I don’t know about the others, but I was definitely disappointed. Theresa and I each ordered a plate of mi xao bo (stir fried noodles with beef), Quan ordered a plate of fried rice, and Evan got an appetizer plate of egg rolls (that ended up being the most expensive item!). The portions were nice, but the taste left something to be desired. Don’t even get me started on the beer. I don’t know what they put in that stuff, but it tasted pretty crappy. I didn’t even finish my 300 ml.
After that huge disappointment, we decided to hunt for a bar to hang out at. The taxi driver first took us to this place that was on a boat, but it was too dark for us to see the boat, so we played it safe and asked him to take us elsewhere. I think it also helped once he found out that we just wanted to drink beer, not dance. He was kinda confused though, since most bars in Vietnam are part of restaurants. It was also around 11 PM by that time, and most restaurants were closed or closing. In spite of all that, our amazing taxi driver found us a small pub near the night market area.
This sign was sitting on a table in the pub . . . we were somewhat worried that someone would offer us pot.
When we first walked in, the place was blaring some alternative rock music. We could barely hear each other over the music, and I was surprised because you couldn’t hear the music from the street. Once we got our beers, we quickly headed outside and took over the two tables located by the door. Although it was hot, smelled like pee, and we got sticky from the humidity, we all agreed that this was better than sitting inside and not even being able to hear yourself think. We broke out our Phase 10 card game and sat outside until one of the employees called us inside, saying something about how the police would be patrolling soon and we couldn’t be outside drinking beer. Luckily, they turned down the music once we said that it was too loud, and they also let us have the small upstairs area (it had been occupied when we first got there).
Now, I’m 5’3″ (or just shy of it) and even I couldn’t stand up straight in the upstairs area. So imagine how much trouble Quan and Evan had (especially Evan, who stands at a gigantic 6′ even). Of course, that was only a problem whenever we had to get up to use the restroom, which I thankfully only had to use once. I’m not sure exactly how long our phase 10 game took, but by the time we had finished, it was 2 AM and we were the only ones left in the pub. I’m pleased with the place we found; they had Ha Noi beer (which tasted infinitely better than whatever it was they made at Legend Beer) and some interestingly chill pot music. I also drank my two beers slowly enough to where I didn’t get all swollen and itchy from the alcohol.
Theresa barely clears the ceiling, and I think I’m an inch or two too tall, shockingly enough.
So here I am with another post-dated blog entry and a day behind (or is it two now)? Hopefully I can knock out yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday) in the next post, especially since Wednesday was mostly spent stuck in the van (again). Luckily, it’s the last long drive we have. I can’t believe we’re leaving Monday evening!