Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Been a While

Due to a crazy schedule, unforeseen illnesses, impromptu doctor visits, new classes and additional working hours, Gavin and I have hardly had a second to rest our feet, let alone write a blog.  Here are some pictures to ease your mind and tempt your palette.

We had a wonderful lunch of noodle soup followed by a "bitter gourd" stuffed with ground pork.  

 Finished off with a Mango Smoothie.
A trip to the pool in Van Thanh Park to escape the heat and get a little rest and relaxation on our day off.  

Gavin showed off his tricks for the camera!

 Soft-shell turtle (Ba Ba) on a menu.  Poor little guy!
A dinner with friends including Patrick, posing here with one of the wait staff.
 Dinner included large river clams with a fresh peanut and mint sauce and a slow cooked tamarind and pork dish.

Teachers Day came on the 20th of November.  Good teachers were rewarded with roses, money and gifts.  I received several long-stemmed red roses, a new wallet, cards and 100,000 VND.  Gavin was given nothing.
A late night meet up with our friend St. Paul Joe and his Vietnamese friend Vien at the Railroad Shellfish Restaurant included a smattering of dishes.  Pictured: whole crabs slathered in tamarind sauce and deep fried shrimp.  The fried leaves on the second plate are said to cure the flu and other tropical maladies.  Unpictured: fried chicken feet and calamari rings.

A trip to the store to buy new, hideous, sheets for our bed.  Notice that a set of sheets here includes only a bottom fitted sheet, two pillow cases and a long round pillow case.  Gavin and I have gone native: we haven't used a top sheet for nearly two months!
When you get sick in a foreign country all you want is a little taste of home.  I cooked up a package of Barilla spaghetti and sauteed fresh garlic in a little olive oil.  I added some cabbage and steamed broccoli along with a jar of tomato sauce.  Sprinkled some faux-parmesan cheese on top and we almost felt like we were at Luciano's

Gavin posing with his students.
Mixed Seafood and Beef Pho.
Gavin finally tries a flattened squid from one of the street vendors. 
 First you pick your squid, Gavin chose a medium sized one.
Then the squid is heated and flattened again.  Finally it is shredded and served with the sauce of your choice.


CAROL said...

Yeah, your back! Loved every word. Had missed all your chatter!

Isis said...

Wow Nellie, that's a Great entry !!!
I was glad to see pictures of the two of you :):):)

Why didn't they give Gavin a present? Maybe a couple roses, at least. (haha) I feeling a "Double Standard" here.

The food looks fantastic!! Am I reading you correctly in that they don't have Proper Asiago, Parmesan and Romano? You need to get the Pilisi's on that one for ya!! Or can you not mail food? Just curious.

The pool must be wonderful in that weather ... it reminded me of being in Indonesia with my x and we splurged after weeks of slumming it, got a hotel check-in at 5am, swam all day, and then got a late check out at 3pm - All for the price of one day. Ah, they joys of traveling with a persuasive British guy! lol!
I remember that being one of the happiest days of my life ...and he played guitar too. Thanks for reminding me of that (heart) ... I'd forgotten.

Loved this entry, it was awesome !

Ned said...

Poor Gavin. I even got a card for Teacher's Day, and I'm not even a teacher any more! At least he got to indulge in flattened squid... lucky guy!

Ned said...

100,000 Dong is just 5 Dollars, right?

Nellie said...

Ned: 100,000 is about $5, but here you can live on that for several days if you really make it stretch. People like construction workers and even the TA's at work make 30,000 an hour, so it was a very generous gift!