Asia Day 9: HCMC

Woke up feeling refreshed from all the rest I’ve gotten yesterday but as soon as I walked outside to buy some gifts for my cousin, I realized my fever has returned and this time, at full force. It didn’t help that it was also raining today and the thought of sitting at the back of the motorcycle for 1 hour, in the rain, with a fever, made me feel even more sick. I messaged my cousin to inform her of my situation and how I wouldn’t be able to go to her place today for lunch. She was very disappointed that I couldn’t make it, as she has prepared a lot of food for us, her guests. I felt terrible, so we decided that I would try getting some rest, taking some Asian Tylenol (Panadol) that we picked up at the pharmacy here and see how I feel later on.

I spent the majority of the day in bed, while Aaron went to a nearby coffee shop to get some work done. He picked up some Banh Mi for us for lunch! This time, it was at Banh Mi Hong Hoa. He wanted to change things up so he got the one with roasted pork instead. It was super fatty and nicely sweet, I believe from the soy sauce used. There were some hard bits in there I guess from the super roasted parts of the pork. Overall, it was a nice new taste if you get tired of the more common Banh Mi Thit.

I get another phone call from my cousin saying that my other cousin’s really stressed about the food situation, so I decided to try to get out of bed to head over for dinner. My cousin lived ~30minutes by car (not 1 hour as explained by my other cousin previously) so we decided to just get an Uber instead of bothering my cousins to give us a ride. Of course, they ended up going anyway but we figured it will be more comfortable for us to be going by car v.s. motorbike regardless. We noticed it takes a while for Ubers to arrive here so it’s important to factor in that extra time. After a while of waiting, we finally got on an Uber. All was well and he was following along the map to the address provided to us by my cousin. We were dropped off and thought it was a matter of walking a few steps to find her house. We were so wrong. The addresses in this area of town did not make sense, it went from 190’s to 1000’s and my cousin’s address was in the 100’s. We called my cousin but he was confused as to where we were. It was a dark alley and we did not know who to trust. We just kept walking up and down the alley, hoping my cousins would be able to find us. At this point, I was also feeling nauseated and having chills. Thankfully, we found reputable-appearing pharmacy and handed over the phone to them to talk to my cousin. Without a few minutes, my cousin came by! It turns out my cousin’s house was still another 5 minute drive away and there was no way we could’ve found it on our own. It was already really late at this time and of course everyone waited for us to eat. I felt really bad and thanked our hosts for being so patient and for preparing all the food for us. It was also the 71st birthday of my cousin’s aunt so I learnt how to say Happy Birthday in Vietnamese and sent her my wishes ASAP before I forgot how to say it. 

On our menu tonight was congee and duck noodles. Congee was exactly what I wanted after feeling so miserable all day! It’s the thing to eat when you’re sick according to the Chinese and the Vietnamese too apparently. This congee was super tasty though, very different than the plain congees we usually get at HK restaurants. In addition, you also add some shredded lettuce and chicken, dressed with Nuoc Mam and topped with peanuts to add even more flavour! Amazing! The duck noodle soup as so deliciously sweet with multiple ingredients in the soup, including carrots, black fungus and beancurd. The food just kept coming with fries and beef balls also added to the table. As soon as they heard Aaron liked the peanuts, they got us a bowl of that as well! The big feast ended with some guava dipped in salt and some Vietnamese sweets. It was too bad that I really did not have too much of an appetite to eat too much today but I was very grateful for all the work involved in preparing all this for us. Our ride back to the Airbnb was a lot less of an adventure as our cousin’s husband made it a point to call the Uber driver to make sure he was coming to the right place, as well as giving him detailed instructions on how to get to our Airbnb. 

Dinner @ my cousin's
Dinner @ my cousin’s

Even though I stayed in bed most of the day, the time that I decided to leave the bed turned out to be quite an adventure! Hoping for a more relaxing day tomorrow.

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