Sunday, February 17, 2013

Visiting the (not) Can Tho Family (Feb 13)

What do I mean by the (not) Can Tho family?  This is Ba's family, and they used to live in Can Tho (which is around two hours from here via Vinh Long City, to the Northwest).  It takes this long, because with no speed limits, everyone drives at a blistering 30MPH.

Well, some buses drive faster, achieving close to 38MPH.  We stuck with 30.

Anyway, the family used to live in Can Tho, but some government thing happened and something else happened, and they had to move back to their original land.  Or something like that.  Anyway, they have the distinction of being one of the few places in the middle of nowhere, with paved roads all the way to the house.  Due to some government involvement or other.

Anh Duy showed up late the night before, I guess, in order to go with us to see the family.  I missed his arrival.  Let me back up.

I have complained about the chickens screeching at 4am, and every hour thereafter, every night.  I'm not sure I've complained yet about sharing a bed with Alex (who moves around constantly), but consider the complaint made.  The night before this particular trip, a cricket decided to ruin my sleep as well.

I woke up around 4, with the stupid cheep cheep cheep sound, repeating endlessly.  I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't.  Finally i got up to investigate, and the cheeping stopped.  I laid back down.  Cheep, cheep cheep.  I got my iPhone and turned on the flashlight to find the stupid thing.  That shut it up again, but I couldn't find it.  I gave up and laid back down.

Cheep, cheep, cheep....  Tu started laughing.  Who knew she was awake?  Then Alex started laughing. "That's crazy," he said.  Gaaaaaaahhhhh.  I got up one more time and moved the cereal box, my laptop case, and Alex's megablock container from the floor next to the bed, to the living room out front.

I laid back down.  Eventually, I heard the cricket again, but this time, coming from the living room.  Apparently the stupid bug was in one of those things I moved.  Of course, none of us could go back to sleep, and we had to leave at 6am anyway (I swear Tu said 7am).  So we just got up.

I didn't realize Anh Duy was sleeping on the floor in the living room, and I just moved the noisy cricket next to his bed.


Anyway, back to the trip.  The van/SUV/whatever taxi showed up, and we got ourselves loaded on board.  I took some pics along the way, most of them not particularly interesting.  They're also mostly out of focus, due the the incredible speed at which we were traveling.  Here's a pic of me and Tu in the back of the van.

And Alex, asleep in Ba Ngoai's arms.

Can Tho bridge leads directly into Can Tho.  It has some history... including a collapse during construction.  It is loooooong.  Because we're in a delta, rivers come in several parallel waterways.  The main one reminds me of crossing the Missouri, but it's not the only waterway the bridge crosses.  I have video of the crossing... which means I don't have any still pics.  But here's a pic through the front window, as we approach the up-ramp (It's really tall, ships go underneath).

So, more mundane stuff...  Once through Can Tho and the Tay Do areas, about twenty minutes further, we stopped for... you guess it!  Pho.  More Pho.  Look, I know Pho is the quintessential Vietnamese dish.  If you can't get it done right here in the motherland, where can it be done?

Well, apparently in the States.  I've had Pho twice now in Vietnam, and that is two times too many.  Wait - Tu made it here at the house, and it was actually good.  So, 1 out of 3 times it was good.  Bad odds, bad.  Anyway, here is the restaurant, named Pho Duy.

The Pho Duy in Broomfield CO is pretty good; so I guess all Pho Duy's are not created equal (as I stated elsewhere on FB).  I have other pics; a closeup of my bowl (boring), Tu looking disgusted with hers, a. Duy looking disgusted with his, and Alex looking disgusted with the whole idea of riding 3 hours in a car.  I won't bore you (or me) with them.

Instead, enjoy these:
Common scene - guy peeing beside a busy road (or highway, in this case)

Also common - toddler jammed between parents on a bike, on a busy road
(just like Alex, on our other motorbike trips)

Dragon dance for Tet

Small children walking within a couple of feet of busy (relatively fast) traffic - I'd never be comfortable with my kids doing this, but it is common.

So, I've spent all this time getting to the relative's house.  Finally we arrived and... well... nothing really happened.  Three things stood out -- not all good.

a) The house is on a fairly large bit of land.  Out back are several parallel waterways, maybe 300 meters front to back, with strips of land between.  Mostly they grow coconut trees, but there are also veggies and other things going on.  We climbed into a canoe and paddled our way around for awhile, then did it again later.  I pretended I was Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots part Deux.

b) I avoided eating a Scooby.  There's more to say about this, and I'm not going to say it.

c) Alex's distant cousin, Quan.  He's in 3rd grade, has several girlfriends and an cell phone, and he's a character.  He took Alex by the hand and led him around, and generally steered him away from the dangerous and dirty areas.  He knows a decent amount of English, and made Tu give him her phone number.

Those are the highlights - here are a few more pics from the day trip...

Eventually, we travelled the 3 hours back to Vinh Long (the countryside, not the city.  actually, through the city.  nevermind).

That's all for now.  There will be one more post (probably), but it won't occur until after we get back home.


ve said...

OMG ... You guys went to visit chú Năm Kỳ Đà :-D hahha

This place is at Sóc Trăng (i believe) - From Vinh Long, you'll see Cần Thơ first, then will see Sóc Trăng as you keep going.

Don't think they stopped by Ngã Bảy Phụng Hiệp on the way - where you can go to floating market.

BTW, that far distant cousin (in red and blond hair, i believe) ... he looks so clever and ..something. I dónt know him... how old is he? He seems to love Alex (who doesn't) and surprise me that he knows decent English (if I read it correctly from your post). If he knows decent English when he lives in that area, that boy is SOMETHING!

Thanks for the pictures and the updates. Alex looks so wet :) Love the picture that cousin hugging Alex

ve said...

Oh, BTW, your blog title spelled wrong ... it should be "Từ Đơn Giản"

no "hat" on the "a" of the word "giản"

the word "đơn" should be ơ instead of o

ve said...

ignore my questions about Quân (distant cousin) hahaha ... 3rd grade with many girlfriends and knows decent amount of Englis ... OMG!

ve said...

The guy who peeing picture ...
we called that "đái đường" - đái = pee, đường = road

also the word "đái đường" means diabetes

hehehe if you want to play with the words ...

something for fun