no killer virus yet. instead, over the last four days there have been: jackfruit blended ice shake; ice cream with stewed in syrup longans; extreme heat; extreme traffic; a church at sunset, flanked by two lifesize tableaux: mary’s grotto, in which mary is nestled in a manmade mounatin cave setting beneath a neon halo and a neon sign the says “ave maria”, and a crucifiction scene where at jesus's feet stand mary and mary gazing down at a second jesus, lying in state (thus proving by being in two places at the same time, that he *is* god); a very long wait amidst pushy shovy grannies for a mini bus ride to a bus station, a mini bus that is actually a tin of sardines; a five hour bus trip from saigon down to the mekong delta punctuated by many hawkers coming on board to sell things, including, spruiked by loudspeaker, a set of knives; soursop blended ice shake; extreme heat; a siesta; another soursop blended ice shake; a cantonese congregation temple; a khmer temple; another temple at which a delightful scene of miniature buddha and goddess of mercy statues are glued onto a small concrete mountain; another siesta; a crazy park with decorated staircase-based structures that one could pose on, surrounded by many concrete animals and dangerous merry-go-round rides; a slice of coconut flan; a sugar brioche filled with dollops of kaya; a dubbed-into-vietnamese tv show, which seemed to have been made in italy; a five a.m. awakening; a motor sampan along the mekong to a floating market; a bowl of spaghetti and sliced pork in a tangy pink soup, on the sampan, in the shade of a neighbouring boat; veggies tied to poles; five hours in the sun, in the slowest motor sampan in can tho, travelling through silty brown canals; a jackfruit blended ice shake; a siesta.
Monthly Archives: April 2003
at nine o’clock last night, it struck me that my plane was scheduled to leave at 8 in the morning, and i hadn’t yet packed. or scrubbed down the kitchen, or laid out fresh new cockroach bait for the little bastards, so that they would be dead when i got back in two months. it filled me with a sense of urgency.
yes, i have decided to fly into the face(mask) of DSV, so to speak. right now it’s 7.30 and i’m sitting in the departure lounge of sydney airport. after a minor panic while eating a large brown pear that i had somehow forgotten to pack my camera (unfounded, but that’s what lying awake for four hours waiting for the alarm clock to go off does to you), all i have to worry about now is that maybe my backpack is way too small, and maybe i haven’t brought enough shirts, and then even if i did, there won’t be space in my pack for me to buy anything.
engh. it’s all gonna be bits of paper with pictures of exotic food printed on anyway.
so off i go. remind me to tell you about my popcorn chicken experience one day.
today i voluntarily ate rabbit. the last time i ate a bunny was by default, when i was maybe like, 14, and we went to a french restaurant for my mum’s birthday, and it was prix fixe, and the appetiser was, from memory, some sort of gelatine engulfed rabbit roulade, which my sister refused by saying, no thanks, i have a pet rabbit.
but today at lunch, the tastiest-sounding thing on the blackboard menu was bucatini with rabbit in a butter, white wine and parsley sauce. in fact it was supremely tasty, which is why danks street depot is my favourite place to eat, which is not to say i go there often, but that whenever i do go i feel happy and lucky (distinct from happy-go-lucky, which i feel, like, never).
i guess for some people out there, eating rabbit is a normal occurance. it’s still exotic to me, like some shellfish, and offal.
last night i dined with the effusive and stylish lena at an unusually narrow korean restaurant in burwood. bemused by the sudden wintery turn that autumn took, we had cups of thick murky sweet ginseng tea while waiting for salmon nori rolls and two tofu dishes (pan fried and spicy hotpot). and then, surprise! the waitress brought us pickles: sure, a little dish of kimchee, but then also four other little dishes of chili pickled cucumber, julienned carrots and zucchini in sesame oil, beansprouts in vinegar and sesame oil, and strips of marinated chewy tofu. yum. free pickles.
in the last few weeks… i traded in a bunch of frequent flyer points – amassed over several years of flying between sydney and singapore and new york – for a ticket to vietnam, china and singapore. i quit my job. i got my passport organised. i stepped past falungong protestors outside the chinese embassy – rain or shine – to get a shiny chinese visa in said passport. i bought a lonely planet guide, heavy as a brick. i got a polio vaccine that left a dark tasting trickle down the back of my throat, and a shot for tetanus that kept me from moving my left arm or sleeping on that side for three days. i bought some grape flavoured yoghurt sweets to take along. i saw myself eating ice cream and pork baguettes and pho, and swimming in halong bay with the boy who left me his fridge (see previous entry).
and it is quite possible that i will not be going, thanks to the mystery killer virus that seems to be sweeping through the region (and beyond) like some vile european dance music tune. no. not an april fool’s joke. my disappointment is far more bitter than that polio vaccine.
the one good (ha) thing about this experience is that i have become well-acquainted with the world health organisation’s website, which issues a daily update on the virus as well as a daily cumulative infection and death tally. it surely makes for compelling reading.