Who Pam Is: Pam works right down the street from my condo on Phinney Ridge, she is responsible for planting the seed for the Scriber Costa Rica trip last year (her company, Parson's Public Relations, has done much to save the sea turtles) and she embarked on a World Adventure(http://seattlepam.blogspot.com/) in September. She started by trekking in Nepal, spent three months in India, only left India for Thailand because her visa ran out (and if you read her (very cool) blog, you will find that her Thailand sentiments are very similar to mine and K's), then to Laos, then to Cambodia.
Now she's here, and she wants to EAT.
Oh, and as I mentioned before, Pam also has a million dollar personality.
Pam and I shared a bottle of wine on my deck the night before I left Seattle and planned to meet in Vietnam in March. Ever since, we have been following each others' blogs. We both think it's pretty cool that we get a taste of familiarity at this point in our adventures, but that we don't have to tell a million stories. We know each other's stories. So guess what we can do? We can concentrate on her desire to EAT.
Saturday morning, I am (as you can imagine), bursting with excitement to take Pam around my market. But K makes her a cup of coffee and I have to wait FOREVER for her to drink it. THEN, I can't believe I do this, but since I have to wait for slow coffee drinkers, I put in one of our prize DVD's: George Michael. Pam goes crazy. We have to watch and watch and watch as she drinks her coffee. She LOVES George Michael. She's gasping as each new song plays...she's out of her chair dancing and singing... finally, when I begin to assess her commitment to her goal, I realize she just needs a little guidance. If we don't go soon, the rice cake lady will close down. So I have to cut her off. I'm pretty sure that in retrospect she will thank me. We begin by meeting Thuy and Thanh at their stand - Pam already"knows" them, of course, through all of her blog reading - and we do a quick tour of the market with Thuy to buy all of the ingredients we need for dinner-making (shrimp and taro spring rolls and hot pot).
THEN, finally, we EAT. We eat an order of cakes each. We eat salad rolls. We buy roasted eggplant and tomatoes and basil and mangoes and pomelo and avocados and shrimp and come back and make a salad of all of these things at the castle. We take little break from eating (and you guessed right, Pam goes back to George but is able to pull herself away for the Bum Bum) until Thuy comes at three to cook more food.
This time, our hot pot has a few different items - in addition to the fish (which we saw grabbed out of the bucket and bludgeoned to death right in front of us), squid, prawns, mushrooms, morning glory and noodles- Thuy buys what turns out to be our favorite treat: (what we think are) squash blossoms. Sweet and delicious.
The broth is the same as last time, but somehow it's better: lemongrass, tamarind, sugar, curry paste. Pam is a certain breed of vegetarian, I call her a Pesca-baca-tarian. An animal lover and a conservationist, she believes in the vegetarian + seafood lifestyle, but every so often, she allows herself to indulge in the joy of bacon. I love this about Pam.
So perhaps it is a bit more difficult for her to witness the murder of the fish for the soup, and perhaps it is a bit more difficult for her to see her soup staring back at her. To be honest, this is bothering me less and less.
Thanh can't join us because their nephew, whom we call "Monkey Boy" since the beer incident on Tet, is sick. Katherine is at a soccer game. So this leaves us and Tarn to eat this huge pot of soup. And I haven't mentioned this yet, but it is HOT lately. I have heard that April is the hottest month here, and I can testify to this. We eat hot pot in the sweltering heat, we sweat it out like we are supposed to, and thank goodness we have a cool, breezy roof and TWO HAMMOCKS to rest in. That's right, K bought a hammock the other day, so we are a TWO HAMMOCK castlehold now. It's such a great spot.
Since it is finally cool, we decide to head downtown for Pam's second mission, one she did not know she had until the morning: she also, it seems, wants to BUY A GEORGE MICHAEL DVD while she is in HCMC. We travel all over the city, and finally find it at our tenth DVD shop. We come back to the castle victorious, Pam proudly owning all of the best of what the castle has collected. We take my laptop up to the TWO HAMMOCK ROOF and watch a combination of Michael Jackson videos and last week's American Idol episode (Motown Week).
I think Pam is happy and full.