Today I get to hear more Mom Nam stories when I get home. Like this one:
Yesterday, Sue wanted to get some sunglasses (she lost hers while traveling in Laos) but she never mentioned anything to Nam about it. She squinted all day long, and was planning to ask him to stop somewhere this morning. He beats her to it, though: when they get on the road, he takes a pair of sunglasses out of his pocket and hands them to her.
"He's so observant," she says.
"I know," I say. I finally get to share this character with someone.
When we meet him on the street, I tell Nam that Sue wants to try the #1 Breakfast. "Drop me off at school," I say/pantomime, "And then come back and get her and take her to The Spot." I wanted her to see the pandemonium surrounding this stand, where foreigners never come. He takes charge instantly; he goes into Nam on a Food Misson Mode. He orders Miss Sue a coffee and commands her to sit down on the plastic chair at his morning spot. Actually, she wants to go home to get a few things and keep their 9:00 date, but there is no stopping Nam when he is in this Mode. So she does as she is told (just like I do).
Unfortunately, he ends up picking up the breakfast on his way back from school and they eat it where Sue is having her coffee. But he gets one thing right: he buys breakfast for himself, too. Here is the #1 Breakfast: bean sprouts and basil leaves on the bottom, wide rice noodles which have been grilled on something resembling a crepe pan and rolled up with nuts, a big ball of deep fried bread (savory), what I will refer to as "homemade bologna," and fish sauce. Whenever I bring this to school, everyone is jealous. "Where did you get that?"
More Mom: Yesterday, I told you that he rolled up all of the ban xeo for her...well, today, he prepares her pho: he squeezes the lime, adds the greens and the sauces and stirs it up. He orders a big bowl for her and a little bowl for himself.
She brings a bottle of water in, but he tells her to eat the pho first, and then drink the water. She says this is challenging (because the soup is spicy), but of course she obeys.
And more: yesterday, he became accustomed to Sue taking food pictures. All day today, he prepared the food for the picture, chopstick placement and all.
Tomorrow, we are meeting Nam with a translator, but that's a completely different cool story that I don't have time to add right now, because we have food to eat, shakes to drink, massages to get and roofs to hammock in.