Friday, August 21, 2009

Living Hanoi: Part 4

This was a few days back:

Constantly professing my love for Bia Hoi (local micro brew draught beer) prompted our host, Mr Tuan, to invite us out to a local Bia Hoi place he knew. We jumped on the motos, me with Mr Tuan and Celine with Madame Dzung. The trip took around 5 minutes from home.

As soon as we sat down four beers were sitting on our table – impeccable service. It was a good chance to chat outside of the house environment. Over a few beers we discussed the French rule and the more recent war that has impacted Vietnam, the American War (which we know as Vietnam War). This topic was brought on by our recent trip to the Hoa Lo Prison which looked at French control of the prison when under colonial rule as well as the Vietnamese holding American POWs. This is a subject we can discuss openly and the general response from the family is that these wars are a thing of the past.

The Hanoi people I know are happy to meet, talk and laugh with foreigners. We talked about culture in Vietnam, the places where Mr Tuan & Madame Dzung grew up, and many other things. At one point Mr Tuan discretly asked me what I thought of Vietnamese girls...
I am not sure if I answered correctly or even if there was a correct answer.
“They are very nice and much slimmer than western women” was the best I could come up with. There was no awkward silence so I figure that was ok.

Mr Tuan ordered a squid, beef and frog dish. Celine was not too excited about trying the frog which is quite unusual; being from Frog Land and all. The first dish that came out was the squid. It was delicious. It was fried almost into little patties. It was a strange tasting squid I thought until Mr Tuan quickly interjected: “Excuse me I have some news to tell you. This is not the squid I am sorry but the frog” as Celine’s chewing came to an abrupt end. She washed the rest down with a beer however had to admit it was very tasty.
The other dishes were great and it was a pleasant evening at one of the local street restaurants.

On arriving home and having a shower Celine asked if Madame Dzung could cut my hair. Not having much to cut and presuming she meant using the clippers I said yes. Once out of the shower we both realised what I had signed up for. We were a bit lost in translation and instead it was me cutting Mr Tuan’s hair. He was in the chair the scissors were out and I was apparently the man for the job. I looked at Celine with the "you have got to be kidding me" expression. There was no kidding it seems. I could not work out why the assistant president of a large ISP company on a Sunday night wanted me with no obvious hairdressing skills (and a few beers consumed) to cut his hair. I tried to profess my clear lack of ability however to no avail.

“No problem” he said with a laugh.

It will be a problem tomorrow when you show up to your Monday morning meeting looking like me, I thought.

Sticking to his convictions I had to assume position as hairdresser for the night. I grabbed the scissors and the comb and went to work, very conservative at first. When pushed by Mr Tuan to cut more I did reluctantly. I thought it pretty average on completion however after Madame Dzung applied the finishing touches the general reaction was positive. It was a good laugh for all. I can only guess what will end up happening on the next family outing.

Voir mon post "Un Dimanche a Hanoi".


  1. Hey Ding !

    Pour rire un peu, la video intégrale de l'émission "Fourchette & Sac à dos" spécial VIETNAM on line :

    En français, ça vaut le détour pour t'améliorer !

    Des bises

  2. This is the best story I've ever read in my life.

  3. yes, it's true, it's awesome. Thanks mate for a good laugh!

  4. Hey guys, your stories sound great! i'm very jealous...keep having fun. Bernard says hi.