Yeah, I've said them already, too. This morning, I see a man walking through our old-world market selling Christmas wrapping paper.
"It's not even Thanksgiving yet!" is my automatic American thought-response. Then I remember where I am: the seller is in bare feet and tattered clothing; he's not exploiting anything, he's just trying to feed himself.
I get back to the castle to report this to K and she says, "I know! Did you see the Dancing Santa at T and T's stand yesterday?"
No, I didn't. And I didn't see it this morning, either. So I run back to the stand to get a picture and only Thanh is there - no Thuy nor Santa.
"Where is your Santa?" I ask.
She doesn't understand.
"You know, Santa Claus? Ho ho ho?"
"Merry Christmas?" I do a little dance to show her I am speaking of the doll.
"Oh! The Christmas Man?"
She hops off of the table and disappears inside to retrieve him.
"He will bring us good business and welcome customers!" she tells me, producing the doll. She turns him on and he begins his little dance. Seems that Santa - to her -is more like one of their Business Buddhas, meant to bring luck and money to their year. I don't have the heart to tell her that what Dancing Santa actually inspires in people is a desire to grab an axe and chop him up into little tiny pieces.
"Where did you get him?"
"Monkey Boy (our nickname for her nephew)," she says. And then, "What you call him?"
Angie, Mom, Dad...I think I know what you need to bring: your Christmas movies. "The Grinch," "Rudolf," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." We need to educate these girls ~
Speaking of my family, I have everyone's itinerary hanging on my wall: calendars, plane ticket confirmations...and a list of everything I want them to eat. I am beginning to enter my Food Panic Mode. The voices in my head often fight over food priorities when it comes to what I want other people to experience, and I don't really like this personality trait I have.
I'm sure, though, that the clam woman around the corner from the castle is a top priority. These two plates of clams are so delicious - one plate is long-necked clams and morning glory stir fried in tamarind sauce and topped with peanuts, and the other plate is clams steamed with lemon grass and beer.
Both plates come to $1.80. Yep, top of the list~
p.s. I thought it was pretty cool that the first Vietnamese member of Congress, Anh Cao, was also the only Republican representative to vote in favor of the health care bill. He was born in Vietnam and "fled with two siblings after the fall of Saigon in 1975 to live with an uncle in Indiana," according to the New York Times.