In the early hours of this morning, which now seem like a lifetime ago, we boarded our plane and headed out on our big group tour of Vietnam and Thailand. I've never travelled overseas in a big group before, but I think it's quite a nice experience and I see the appeal of why people go out and do contiki tours. Mind you, I'm not on a contiki tour, or anything even remotely like that. I'm travelling with my family and some other families from our church community. But I don't know any of the other travellers so it's nice to make new friends.
I have also never been on holiday with my brother before, so this is a nice first for us :)
I was really worried that it would be difficult to stick to my vegan diet while travelling around Asia because they love to put fish sauce and oyster sauce in everything. Back in the early days of being vegan I would ask for the vegetarian option every time I went into an Asian restaurant, but I quickly learnt that you have to specifically state that you don't want any fish sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp paste or egg etc. Some people don't understand what being vegan involves, which is fine, so from now on I just list off everything I can't have. Sometimes their reaction is funny.
Despite being worried about not finding vegan food, we've actually done pretty well so far. Our first stop off was at a nice little place that whipped up some stir-fry veggies for us. Surprise surprise they didn't have anything vegan on the menu, but they were lovely and made something for me anyways. I did not expect the veggies would be so delicious, but they were. It was a very simple dish consisting of cauliflower, broccoli, mushroom, carrot and garlic in what I assume to be vegetable broth, but whoa it was so good! So yeah, so far so good in terms of hunting down vegan food.
Vietnam is very different to how I remember it 7 years ago when I last came to visit. For one, the staff in the airport are so much nicer and more friendly. I used to be so scared of going to the Vietnamese airport as a child because everyone just looked so stern and like they would slap me if I looked at them wrong. But this time around, there were so many smiles, and everyone offered to help with getting luggage and finding a taxi. Yay for kindness! It definitely shows.
The roads are also very different to how I remembered them as well. I guess in 7 years, that's plenty of time to do road construction, but I'm quite impressed at how wide and tidy some of the newer roads are. I hope it stays in this condition for a while. Don't get me wrong though, as you travel further from the city, you get the roads that are bumpy as anything.
What I liked about travelling around today was seeing all the food carts. We saw a cart selling Vietnamese fried bread. They had something called banh tieu which I absolutely love, and they served it piping hot fresh out the oil that they deep fried the yummy goodness in. I can't find an English wiki page for banh tieu, but it's basically like a sweet kind of dough which is deep fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It's cool though, because it's hollow on the inside. So you're pretty much just eating crispy fried dough. But these ones were golden and a bit soft. So good. So good.
The last thing I'll say before I stop rambling is that I really like the old building here. They definitely look old, but you can tell that once upon a time they were all new and brightly coloured. I see lots of faded blue and yellow walls, but it has this cool rustic look it it. Everywhere I looked in Ho Chi Minh City, I saw a wall that would have looked great with some street art on it. I love hunting street art, and I hope to find some in the weeks to come. I don't why this fascinates me so much, but it does. I think I just like seeing people's talents on display.
|The only street art I've been able to find so far.|