Chronicles of the Wanderer: I’ll have No. 76

Every adventure comes with quirky stories that you get to bring home to share with friends and family. I’m creating a series where I share some of these anecdotes. I wanted my first to be of a particular event that always brings laughter over us.

We arrive at night not seeing a single face that reflects our own foreign complexion and follow the hotel manager to the VIP room. Our $60 USD scored us a 2-bedroom suite with insanely high ceilings. This little town in Vietnam was our overnight stop on our way to Cat Ba Island.

Fast forward to dinnertime and naturally we go to the front desk to ask for pho recommendations. The words “Are there any good pho places around?” clumsily fall out of my mouth. As the look of confusion spread across her face, I, being the suave, level-headed communicator, immediately say “uh, GOOD FOOD?”. It was awkward. It was abrupt. And I got lots of slack from my travel companions for freaking out.

We’re directed towards a restaurant one block away for traditional Vietnamese food. We spent a second too long looking at the front entrance because before we knew it, we were being ushered, aka herded, towards the VIP dining room. Every interaction from here on out was odd and hilarious. The most odd might have been the big glass room we were herded into surrounded by stickers of a jolly Santa Clause. Or how the waiter stood over us as we ordered as we stumbled across No. 76 on the menu with the English translation: Fdgfdgfdgfdg. Or how we were the only customers in the restaurant which sometimes felt like we were the only people. Or how we struggled over counting the final bill into the right amount of Vietnamese Dong while my other friend joked about whether they would take Thai Baht.

I’ve experienced my fair share of pristine beaches and, but this little town in Vietnam will be an experience I never forget.

Travel is awkward. Travel is being unable to understand another person and starting up a charades game with complete strangers…or awkwardly blurting out words (I’m working on it). Travel is also being understood with a simple smile and head nod despite different walks of life.

3 thoughts on “Chronicles of the Wanderer: I’ll have No. 76

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