“Where you from?”
“Malaysia? Netherlands? Indonesia? Cambodia? Laos people? Myanmar? Iran? Syria? India? Thai people?”
“Oooh, America yes, many different color people. But you’re not a real American. You look different from her. She is a real American.”
I’ve had these conversations too many times, but yesterday, a local actually said, “American, but you look Mexican.” I was stunned, floored actually. For the past five months I’ve heard things like, “You look like my people (pick a country), but bigger [insert wide hand gestures].” Or, “You look like fat Indonesian.” Thank you. The color of my skin throws off a lot of local people, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve also heard, “Oh American, you very lucky.” Indeed I am. As Warren Buffet puts it, I’m a winner of the “genetic lottery,” because I was born in the USA.
If America friended Vietnam on Facebook, I’m sure the relationship would be listed as, “it’s complicated, but the food is freaking amazing!” I thought after Malaysia and Thailand, everything else wouldn’t be able to compete, but after a little over a week traveling up from Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Hue, and now Hanoi I can say without a doubt, Vietnam is foodie paradise. The small fires in the street, the incessant honking, crazy heat, tough women, eratic driving, trash, and overall madness all fall deep into the background the moment a bite of food goes into our mouths.
Going out to watch a movie about the war in Laos, pics coming later. Peace