The Beauty of Burgers and Bahn Xeo!

Life in Saigon finally seems to be settling around me and I’m beginning to feel a little more comfortable here. The hustle and bustle of Asian life no longer serves to compound and frustrate all the time. The dirtiness has become normal. The heat although still ridiculous isn’t quite as bad any more. I have a slowly growing group of friends here. I have basketball twice a week. I have a lovely girlfriend. I have my first holiday booked and I can often be found smiling.

I might have knew I would adjust to life over here in the back of my mind when I first arrived but at the time I leaned more towards flying back as soon as financially possible and leaving this place firmly in the rear-view mirror. I’m not saying aspects of life here aren’t frustrating, the constant hassling on the streets can piss you off and some days you most definitely don’t want to be here but those days are becoming less frequent and that is something I’m very much enjoying.

I left you last Wednesday night with the news I had a girlfriend, I’d like to report that I still have a girlfriend and with that we shall back to a world of chronology I appreciate. Thursday began with basketball and from there most of the day was spent at school planning.

After finishing I took a xe om over to Linda’s place where she’d cooked for me, the fried chicken was delicious and her apartment is ridiculous. The balcony at the top of her building is a superb spot for chilling out and I even found a Tom Clancy I haven’t read on their bookshelf. Bonus.

The Friday began with me following the NFL draft,a theme that continued for the rest of the weekend. I love the draft as a process, it helps the new players to be much more fairly distributed than all the good talent goes to the same big clubs in our football. Its a much better system for the parity of the game and when combined with the salary cap means all teams compete on a level playing field. That some of them are run by idiots (Hi, Jacksonville) makes their lowliness their own fault.

The Bengals had a fantastic draft, picking up some great looking prospects and getting good value. I’m excited to see how we do next year, it would be nice to see us build on a solid 2009 season and win our first play-off game in aeons. That’s my sports geek spot out so we can get back to my world.

Friday night I ended up at the Indian, which was great but once over the reality that the weekend was here began to settle in, much to my chagrin. Saturday was a day spent mostly in a daze, I didn’t seem to wake up all day, even after a 45 minute nap in the cafeteria at lunchtime. When I finished I headed to a Vegan restaurant with Aussie Becc, not my usual scene given I have a good chunk of genetic code in common with T-Rex but this was simply well made food prepared with good quality ingredients and was therefore delicious, I would definitely go back there.

Sunday dawned far too early as it always does and wasn’t causing too many problems until my second class, in this class I have two troublemakers, the first of which we shall name Dave and the second Dave 2. Dave’s 1 and 2 have been split up and put on opposite sides of the classroom but they still talk to each other at any given opportunity. To add insult to injury they do this in Vietnamese even though their English is plenty good enough should they choose to use it.

Dave 1 spoke Vietnamese too much and half an hour in my Vietnamese assistant had been on the phone to his parents to let them know, they promised to sort him out. Sadly before the class was over Dave 1 couldn’t take the hint and I had to throw him out of the classroom, I went out and using many more words told him to sort himself out. We shall see how that works out next weekend. It’s a a shame because there are some great students in the class who want to learn and they are having it spoiled by the idiots.

At lunch Becc had told me the previous day of a Vietnamese dish called “Banh Xeo” a savoury pancake filled with fried veggies, beansprouts, meats, prawns and general deliciousness served with large leaves and fresh herbs to wrap it up in. An absolutely inspired option when combined with a banana/chocolate milkshake.

When I got back to work I discovered I had a new class for Tuesday/Thursday which leaves me only one class off a full schedule which is a nice bonus I have to say. It also means being at work more. Boo. My one remaining class of the day was to be my first observation, two of the higher ups would take in the first half of my class. I think it went well but I’ll get the official verdict tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Linda came across to where I work and picked me up and we headed to a restaurant I have heard a lot about called “Black Cat”, famed for its burgers which of course sounded fantastic to me. I ended up with the “Bob Cat” a burger with bacon, bbq sauce, cheese, onions and tomatoes and it was an absolute thrill. Other than the bit of grease that got on my trousers that I thought was going to stain. (Thankfully with Linda’s advice I washed them with washing up liquid last night and its lifted right off).

A future blog post will include an attempt of me trying to take on Black Cat’s take on the stupidly massive burger. It looks to be about the size of my particular fat head and a challenge but one I shall surely take on. It’s 250,000 dong (£10) and I am determined to take it down. Pictures will grace the blog at that time I promise.

Both of us were knackered after the long weekend of teaching and it wasn’t that long before I was knocking out the Z’s. Today began with frustration and turned into an excellent day. Linda if you’re reading this you are due a trip to the hole. (Yes I am allowed to shamelessly flirt with my girlfriend on my blog, plus no-one else knows what that means although I’m sure Miggy will assume something utterly wrong.) Linda dropped me down Bui Vien only for me to realise I’d forgot my money to book my flights to Phu Quoc. Oops.

While angry with myself I pottered in and out of a few shops and found one awesome bookshop that was full of things I’d like to read. Got a few things on my shelf right now so didn’t pick anything up but saw plenty that would take my fancy!

I decided then that I would back, get my money, come back and sort my flights out. This I did, with much sweat in the relentless midday sun. Got everything sorted, return flights for the low low price of 2,000,000 dong (or £75 if you prefer) so as of a week on Monday I will be sunning myself on a tropic island for five days of rest and relaxation. Pretty excited, especially if I can get the night squid fishing sorted.

From there I was starving and had spied a place called “Master Kebab” around the corner, sounds like somewhere down Church Street in Hartlepool but it was actually a sitty-down casual cafe style place and the kebab I had was beyond delicious. Definitely somewhere that is going to become a part of my regular rotation.

From there I strolled along Bui Vien to the milk shop with the forlorn hope of finding chocolate milk; the last three times I’ve been they have had none! Thankfully this time they had mounds of the stuff and I picked up two litre size tetra-paks. Coco pops is on the menu for tea tonight. Since then I’ve just been catching up with the world and once this is up I’m going to sit and read Tom Clancy for awhile and maybe get the DS out.

Would love to hear from anyone reading the blog, please leave your comments, questions or let me know how you’re doing back home or anywhere else in the world.

Love and Bahn Xeo

J. Xx


8 Responses to “The Beauty of Burgers and Bahn Xeo!”

  1. I can’t believe you’re going on holiday already XD! Anna reliably informs me that squid goes best with soy sauce and chili sauce, so get on that and take some with you. London’s the same old, still need to get to the post office with your letter, but it’s not on the way to the library so unfortunately haven’t managed to get there yet XD!


    • In reply to Sara’s message –
      I don’t think you are allowed to bring back squid home as the UK don’t allow any dairy, meat, fish and other things to be brought back! D: So, sorry Sara, John can’t bring back any home but I’ll treat you some! 😀

      Saigon has BURGERS?! DAMN! Arent you lucky?! You have ASIAN and WESTERN food there! I dont suppose they have Roast dinnners and yorkshires there? 😛


      • As I replied to Sara squid has now been deleted from my diet after a brutal bout of food poisoning, bad stuff! If a place didn’t have burgers I couldn’t live there and that is quite simply a fact lol! There’s a place does roast dinners here, but its only on Sundays and im at work, if am off one week am going down there to check it out!!

    • Squid made me sick (I think) and will no longer be a part of my diet, threw up ten times in ONE night, you’ll get the full gen in the Phu Quoc update! I got Mums letter now so you’d best get yours in the psot soon yes yes?

  2. I can’t believe you ate a vegetarian meal and say you enjoyed it! I am one up on Sara in that I have not only written my letter but I have also posted it at the grand cost of £1.24 price you pay for sending a card next time I will just use paper! Have a good holiday looks a fantastic place

    Xx Mam

    • I have received your letter :D:D I will try and get new ones written before I start the course at the end of the month, otherwise I may not have chance during it as I’m told its gonna be torturous much like the CELTA! It actually cost you £1.46 though hehehe! You will hear more about Phu Quoc next time I blog 😛

  3. Hii!
    It sounds like you’re having a good time, your blog is almost a food diary! I’d love to be in dirty asia right now, hot smoggy air! if you get a chance you should definitely go to thailand, it’s so beautiful! How long are you out there for?

    • Lol food is important 😛 Urgh the hottest smoggiest air right now, the heat is way too much, ten steps and sweating, tis ridiculous! Will get to Tland at some point but its not somewhere ive ever really desired going, but am sure I’ll have a wander across! I’ve been out here coming up two months and my contracts a year so ive got a touch over ten months, not sure what the plan is after that! What you been up to? X

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