Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cyclos and Fried Scorpions

Chào ông, Chào bà! Hello again! Today was the day of the grand dinner event. And what a day it was! About 200 of us put on straw Vietnamese hats and set out in a long procession of cyclos.

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam The cyclos are like the cycle-rickshaws you see in smaller Indian cities with two differences: the passenger sits in the front with the driver behind him; also the cyclo can take only a single passenger. It was a exciting 15 min ride to the destination, cutting through traffic all the time (these guys can give the Pune auto-rickshaw drivers a run for their money).

The boat had two decks, brightly lit, with tables set up for dinner. We were welcomed by a bunch of waving guys and gals lined up on either side of the ferry in white sailors' uniforms.

The friendly crew, exotic drinks, and the good food had already gotten me in a happy state of mind. But when the horn sounded, the crew lined up smartly saluting the shore, and the boat took off on the Saigon River, I knew I would remember this evening for a long time!

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City VietnamFood contained fried sushi, mussels, sea bass, skewers of meat, fried rice, and exotic desserts. There was local beer, Pepsi that tasted different, but I stayed with the red wine.

Our dinner entertainment consisted of the cheerful man in the suit; he first played the flute with his nose, followed by many musical instruments he had created from ordinary objects (window pane, fluoroscent tubes, bottles, chinaware, etc.).

But the highlight clearly was what followed. The beer drinking competition followed by one where you had to drink vodka with fried scorpions!

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City VietnamThe young lady from Japan and her colleague (in the pic here) have just tasted their first scorpion! They had no idea they were signing up for much more than a vodka drinking contest. Doesn't taste too bad from their expressions...

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City VietnamOther Posts from this Trip: Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, Other Ho Chi Minh Moments, The Entertainer in Saigon.


Anonymous said...

Never knew that Vietnam can be so much fun. Being a war torn nation once upon a time, there must be a lot of history to uncover, right?

have a grt time!

Shantanu said...

That's correct, Romi. I only had enough time to visit the marketplaces close to my hotel. But with more time you can visit some memorials, mostly War related (the Chu Cui tunnels where the VietCong hid and launched guerilla attacks on the US troops; the embassy building where the US evacuated; the tank which broke thru the gates, etc.)