While the hotel was quite in Nha Trang, the street was not. Remember it was Tet, they celebrate Tet for awhile. There was some kind of drumming all night long. Luckily we were all so exhausted that it didn’t affect our sleep too much. My mom was picking us up in a 16 person passenger van. Her sister’s husband’s brother is a driver so he drove from Quy Nohn, my mom’s home town, to Ho Chi Minh City to pick up my mom and her sister (#9 and her daughter and granddaughter). I don’t know the names of most of my family in Vietnam. Apparently everything is determined by birth order. Her sisters were introduced to me by their number. #9 is the youngest so she’s also called Oop. Yep, Oop. Before my mom gets there we had to go get breakfast. Any chance we get to eat, you know I’m taking it. In the States we order Bun all the time, it’s a vermicelli noodle, with lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, pickled radish and carrots and whatever protein you choose, I normally get pork and shrimp. You pour fish sauce all over and eat, it’s one of my favorite dishes. We saw Bun on a menu and ordered. Not what we were expecting. It was more like a stir fry. It was still very good but turns out there’s all kinds of different Bun dishes. Bun means noodles. I should have paid more attention to the Vietnamese version of the menu, in the states.
We knew we were pushing it, but we wanted to squeeze in a shampoo before we met my mom. We were worried that the salons would be closed due to the holiday but we found one open. Score! A shampoo and blow dry for about $8, sign me up!
This was our before picture. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on our side so we never got our after picture which is a shame because they did an amazing job.
I love getting my hair washed but it’s always hard getting the seat adjusted to where I’m comfortable. Not the case in Vietnam because you lay down while they shampoo your hair. Why are we not doing this in the US? They also scrubbed my head for half an hour, my hair had never been so clean. For a dollar more they also wash your face without ever getting water up your nose. Amazing! Su wanted her hair straight so they flat ironed it afterwards and I wanted curly so they blew dry my hair curly. My hair looked amazing. Nancy was last because she originally just had a plain blow dry, she didn’t know she could get anything else so the main lady did her hair after she did mine and fancied it up. While Nancy was waiting I sent her to get change. Su and I had to leave before she got back because we were running late. I told her this is what you pay her and this is what you tip. Nancy overpaid! Luckily it wasn’t by much.
Because we were running late I walked as fast as I could to the Golden Moon. Unfortunately that meant I got sweaty and once my sweat glands are activated, there’s no stopping it. Bye bye beautiful hair. At least I looked good for a couple of minutes. Mom was there waiting for me. We went upstairs to get our bags to get the car loaded up and by that time Nancy joined us and off we went!
I should mention Oop, her daughter (don’t know her name) and her daughter’s daughter (she is called the Beautiful One by the family members) don’t speak English, neither did our driver. They sat in the back of the van and were pretty quiet. Nancy, Su and I, chatted the whole ride and every now and again had my mom translate.
The drive was beautiful, the water was bluer than I expected and my mom was a fun tour guide telling us stories and answering our questions. Quy Nohn is about 4 or 5 hours from Nha Trang by car. I was really worried about the roads before I got in country but they weren’t bad. They don’t really have a lot of highways so no going 70mph.
A few hours into our trip I was hungry and wanted my next meal. Our driver chose where we stopped. I wish we had taken pics of our food. We left ordering up to my mom and we ate family style which meant we got to try a lot of different things. Because it wasn’t busy, things were really slow. Oop wasn’t happy with the quality of the food or service and she let them know. We were quite impressed.
Once we got back to the van I dug around in my bag and pulled out some suckers and a container of chocolate chip cookies. Mom is stingy with them but I handed some out to everyone. They are meant to be shared. We also pulled out my ipad and Nancy showed the Beautiful One how to play some games to help make the drive more enjoyable for her. She’s about 5 years old and she was great. no complaining or anything. She played for awhile with her mom watching, then gave it back. Something my nephews would never do, they are addicted to electronic games and will play for hours.
Eventually we got to my mom’s mom’s house. My grandmother cries every time she saw me, it was really sweet. Because of Tet a lot of family was in town. I met #4, #6, and #7 but I can’t tell you who was who. I went to the bathroom and when I came out two of my aunts were waiting outside the door and miming. From what I was able to figure out they both babysat me when I was a baby. Either that or they were my wet nurses.
Nancy and I brought candy as gifts and Su put together these great little gift bags. We had to divvy everything up because we also had to visit my mom’s dad side of the family the next day. We gave everything to my grandma but when asked later what people thought of it, my mom had no idea. Apparently grandma has favorites so who knows who got anything. Next time I’m handing stuff out to everyone (with some extra stuff for my favorites LOL).
After we got back to our room we wandered around looking for an ATM. While Quy Nohn is a beach town it’s not touristy like Nha Trang so Nancy stood out even more. These girls were watching us and giggling and finally got the nerve up to say hello and Nancy said hi back (I told Nancy they don’t care about Su and I) and they giggled some more. They gathered their courage and asked for a picture. I don’t know why Su and I were in the pic, they didn’t have interest in us at all, Nancy was the superstar.
We wanted food but it was so late a lot of places were closed so we stopped at the only place that was open. This was probably my least favorite meal.
I always see beef stew on the menu in Vietnamese restaurants but never order it. I think they add cinnamon to their stew. I didn’t like it (I also don’t like it in my chili, aka Cincinnati style). They had marinated boiled eggs which I did enjoy.
We tried to great picture of this guy but we couldn’t without being obvious. It felt like we were watching a character from an old Jackie Chan movie. You know, the kung fu master who works in the kitchen because he’s a has been. This guy worked there or was the owner. He would stir the soup with a cigarette dangling from his mouth while scratching his belly. It was awesome! I really wish we had taken a video just so you could have experienced the awesomeness with us.
Just another day in paradise.