Dear British Lady in the pink denim shirt:

Thanks for an entertaining evening of dining. I'm just sorry it had to come at the expense of that nice young assistant manager you abused for the better part of thirty minutes. What was it about the graffiti filled walls and sticky menu pages that made you think you were in for a fine dining experience?

After a day of visiting the Imperial City and the Tomb of Ming Minh we were in the mood for a drink and a pizza. You ordered some vegetables on rice. You were looking for vegetables that were steamed to preserve their color, yet mushy in texture. I hope you are continuing on to Hoi An. I would be happy to recommend a good cooking school. First you sent the vegetables back. Then you sent the rice back to be sure it would stay hot. Then you sent the vegetables back again.

After some debate you decided they were not capable of cooking your vegetables how you wanted them. I'm pretty sure that at this place the vegetables are microwaved. So, you ordered something and mashed potatoes. This was also returned to the kitchen. The look on the poor boy's face when he brought you your third choice was one of pure fright. He clearly could not imagine that there was any scenario in which you would enjoy your food and honestly I think he was afraid you would grab him by the neck and shake him. I wanted to rush over and put my arm around him to let him know that he was not alone., that there were those of us around who would protect him should it come to violence over the quality of the carrots.

You then pulled aside another member of the waitstaff and gave him a lecture on the proper way to steam vegetables. I can only imagine that he immediately ran back to tell the chef what he (or she) had been doing wrong all this time.

Watching your husband during all of this was priceless. Clearly this is a story he has seen unfold many times. He and your son calmly ate what was brought to them, enjoying their meal and a beer. They were, of course, long done before you had something you were willing to eat. So they patiently waited while you ate.

I almost fell out of my seat when the waiter timidly asked if you would like desert. I'm pretty sure there was nothing he wanted more than for you to simply vanish. Sadly you refused desert, and so our show came to an end.

Have you learned nothing while visiting this country?

Today we visited the Thien Mu pagoda and the tomb of Minh Mang. We travelled by boat on the perfume river. The boat was owned by a nice couple, with two young children. They live on their boat. It is not heated, there is no running water. It is typical of so many of the boats we have used for transportation here in Vietnam. It has a crank start engine. This is not uncommon for this class in Hue. The government tried to relocate them to low income housing, but most of them prefer their boats. So, after trying their apartment they have moved back to the boat!

The weather has been cold and rainy here in Hue, so it makes everything seem a bit oppressive.

One interesting story from the tomb, which covers acres of space is that the king's body was brought in by a secret tunnel, and laid to rest in one of many many tunnels that were dug in preparation for the burial. After the body was left, the workers that carried the casket to its final resting place were beheaded to keep the final location a secret!


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