Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
We visited the big famous market in Da Lat the first week. The lowest floor has vendors for all kinds of food such as rice, beans, fresh veggies, dried goods etc. I've taken the xe om here a few times for groceries (no more biking to the market for me!). The upper balcony that overlooks the market has eateries that serve rice dishes for a dollar. I was hesitant in the beginning about eating there but bit the bullet and am still alive. Hopefully I'll post more pictures of it and the "town" in days to come. For now, just a few snapshots.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Ok, so the 7 of us took a taxi into town to have dinner together as a team. Karen suggested the restaurant Tu Anh because they have the best mango chicken. We showed the taxi driver the business card of another restaurant named Wild Sunflower which Karen knew was a few doors away on the same street, since we didn't have the business card for Tu Anh. It turned out that where the driver dropped us off, we had to walk past Wild Sunflower to get to Tu Anh. But why would that be a problem, you may ask. Well, we know the owner of Wild Sunflower, and he is always standing out in front of his restaurant inviting (persuading, pulling, begging) guests to come in. There are a few restaurants of the same sort on this small street, and all of the them do the same to compete for the same western customers who often walk this street because it's recommended by the Lonely Planet.
Sure enough, we ran into the owner of Wild Sunflower and he asked us to come in. Karen had to turn him down skillfully, saying that we have had other plans for the evening. After exchanging a few words and polite smiles, we walked on and got to Tu Anh. We opened the door and walked in. It's a small little restaurant with about 6 small tables, and there were customers at three of them. The woman owner, very open, friendly, and talkative, greeted Karen in a loud voice from the back of the restaurant. Seeing that there may not be enough tables for all 7 of us, Karen said to the owner, "Do you think there is enough room for us?" The woman responded with a big smile, "Sure!" She then told her assistant in Vietnamese that she had to go show us to our room and will be back. She opened the door, and asked to follow her out. We were all wondering what was happening. While she was taking us across the street and up a small street, we were asking one another if she had an overflow room, and how she would bring the food to us all the way from her restaurant. We kept on following the woman until we got to a building, where she entered and was greeted by another woman. She said something to that woman in Vietnamese, and I caught enough of the conversation to start realizing that she had just taken us to a hotel. Then I thought maybe she wanted to put us in a small room and would bring the food to us. Karen then told her that it was ok, and that we could just order the food first and then walk around while waiting for the restaurant to clear. Now, the restaurant owner was puzzled, wondering why we talked about eating at the restaurant. Then I told her in Vietnamese that we came to her restaurant to eat dinner, not to look for a hotel room. At that point, she broke into loud laughter, screaming that she heard the word "room" from Karen and thought we had wanted a hotel room for the night. We all had a good laugh walking back down to the restaurant.
We all learned an important lesson from that incident--avoid using the word 'room' at a restaurant unless you're really looking for a room for the night. It was also wonderful that a restaurant owner actually took us to a hotel herself--what service!
We all had mango chicken, except me. I wanted to be different and ordered lemongrass chicken instead.
Being in the mountains, we get lots of creepy crawlies. One of Caleb and Isaiah's favorite activities is going on bug hunts. Here are pictures showing them hunting for miniature snails, Caleb holding onto a stick bug, and a caterpillar attempting to make its cocoon in Caleb's bug jar.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Unlike Haiphong, Da Lat has a hilly landscape making it more difficult to get around on a bike (at least for me). So my new mode of transportation so far has been by foot, on a xe om (motorbike taxi) or taxi. It costs about 50 cents for a xe om ride into town and $2 on a taxi. I got myself a yellow helmet and rode on a xe om for the first time in Vietnam last week! I didn't get initiated with a burnt mark from the muffler but did get a bruise on my shin when I swang my leg off the seat against the metal bar behind the seat. As for Andy, he bought a bike from one of our teachers here last year and it has worked well. Here's a picture of Caleb on the back seat.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
We live in building A16 on campus which contains a strip of 9 two-room apartments plus a common storage room and a common laundry room at opposite ends. We live in A16.5, the Rowley's in A16.6, and Karen in A16.7. Here are some pictures of the front and back. We are grateful for the common fenced-in backyard where Caleb and Isaiah can play and run around safely. And the many trees and fresh air around here. I haven't yet had to use my mask here! Though space maybe tight indoor for three, the nice and safe surroundings give us incentives to stay on campus rather than looking to rent off campus.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Having been in Vietnam for a year, I've learned how resourceful Vietnamese people can be. Here are pictures showing how a pair of chopsticks are used to hinge our toilet seat together and hold our toilet tank floater up at the same time. Amazing!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Here are a few pictures that show the "che" (Vietnamese desserts) that Andy's been talking about. The menu is quite extensive and there are big pots of different kinds of "che" at this food stall near our university.
Also shown is where we had our "nem nuong" (Vietnamese sausage rolls) dinner with the new shoot that Karen has so excitedly shared about to some. The student even said grace for us before our meal. It was a blessed time.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
After spending last week moving in, cleaning, and settling down, we decided to get started with the new school year with Caleb. Here he is at his desk, and we made a schedule together. Andy will start teaching next Monday. He's been assigned three speaking classes so far for the first year students. And we hear the teaching schedule changes every week!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Caleb met his new teammate Isaiah in Hanoi and they are together here in Dalat. Here are a couple pictures of the happy couple. Isaiah is a little camera shy so we couldn't get him to look our way while he rode with Caleb on our team leader Karen's motorbike.