There is a sequence from the movie Raising Arizona that I enjoy quoting.
“When dere was no meat, we ate fowl. When dere was no fowl, we ate crawdad. And when dere was no crawdad to be foun', we ate san'.”
“You ate what?”
“We ate san'.”
“You ate sand?”
What does that have to do with anything? I don't know. Let's hope I have a point in that.
Two days ago marked the one year anniversary of when we left the United States, an entire year abroad. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of our arrival into South Africa. And today is one year from when we finally reached Cape Town. It's been quite a year. We are now on our third continent of the trip and our eighteenth country.
How does one celebrate such a year? How about with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa?
Yes, on our one year anniversary of leaving the U.S., my parents arrived here in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They are staying with us for three weeks. We're so excited. Neither kid could get to sleep the night before they came, and honestly, I had a tough time too.
Yesterday we had another new experience. Eating on sand.
I imagine that the first time I ate with my feet in the sand was as a little boy sitting in a sandbox. And probably what I was eating was the sand itself. (Dass right!) But since then, I have certainly had picnics on beaches. And I may have eaten sandwiches, but not sand itself. I've got a more discerning palate at this point.
Yesterday, we all ate a restaurant with a floor of sand. You take off your shoes as you enter (which a barefoot restaurant is very un-American.) And then you walk across the sand. And your tables and chairs are in sand, so they don't seem entirely level.
|I know you can't see the sand in great detail, but it is there. On the floor. It is the floor.|
As it turns out, I did have a sand-wich as my meal. But that wasn't required.
But sandwiches are one of the neat things about Vietnam. East Asia is generally not a bread culture. I mean, we were able to buy bread in the grocery store in Thailand and in Malaysia. But it wasn't really a part of their culture. Not so in Vietnam.
Vietnam was once a French colony, and they inherited the French love of bread and cheese. (Cheese is another thing you don't see much in Thailand or Malaysia.)
What this means is you can get bread and sandwiches here that are very delicious. The bread is often in the baguette style with a crispy thin crust. It's all quite good.
Also enjoyable are some of the symbols used to alert you to the presence of the bathrooms. I will include some here. Carver's favorite is the Man Wraith in which our man has no legs, but just a long torso that trails off.
|The Man Wraith. Beware!|
|A Man Wraith with no arms|
|If the man is a wraith, apparently the woman is a bell? Or an upside-down exclamation point?|
|What do you get when you cross a man wraith and a woman bell? A big baby!|
One year in and we are doing great. No malnutrition. We have plenty of meat and fowl. Haven't really looked for crawdad. And if all else fails, now I know where to get san'.
To get what?
To get san'.
To get sand?