Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I think I'm turning Vietnamese...

I was riding my bike down a side road near the Reunification Palace (I think it was Nguyen Trung Truc Street or something) and I stopped at the traffic light, which in itself is just weird already, seeing as no-one really does that unless they want to be stared, laughed and pointed at.

So I’m standing there deep in thought regarding the merits of either bo kho or pho for breakfast, when these four French tourists coming plodding along. So how did I know they were French? Was it the fact that all four looked like a travelling troupe of stout, Bordeaux oak wine barrels? Was it the proud, red Gallic noses? Was it the much-maligned and scorned sandals ‘n socks combo (although this is a continental European tourist faux pax of note)?

Well actually they came up to me and the stoutest, reddest barrel of them all said something like: “Excusez moi, où est le marché?” Now, my French is a bit like my Khmer which is a bit like my knowledge of the mating habits of South Sea clams: non-existent. My ignorance must have shone through eyes because barrel number 1 dropped in an Anglicised little tidbit that sounded like “Ben Thanh Market”. Ahhh cognisance, the market, okay. So through body language I directed them down the road and on the right path and finally the smallest, palest oak barrel rolled over and with a huge grin which split her face like a melon slice said: “Merci!”

And there I was, in my best Saigonese accent: “Rôi, không sao!”


I think I’m turning Vietnamese…

8 comments:

Caz said...

HAAI MENNO!!
hoe gan dit?
any plans to come home ever?
all good my side. knocked up actually ;)

for the widget... you go to your template, select add a gadget, select HTML from list and voila!

thanks man!

lemme know your news!

David O said...

Well your story sums up two of the stark changes in life that occurs once an expat has been away from his home lanf for too long. One they start speaking and gesticulating in the native tongue and two they start making fun of the French for no reason.

henno said...

Caz - I'm about to try it out. I used to know how to do widgets et al. Now, thanks to my blogging hiatus, the only one I'm semi-familiar with is the widget in the bottom of a Guinness.

Dave - don't get me started on the French...

henno said...

BTW: Try your hand at a six-word story (two posts down).

charvey said...

"...stout, Bordeaux oak wine barrels..."

Brilliant!

Steve Hayes said...

Reminds me of the time when I'd been in Moscow a week and some country hick came up and asked me the way to the nearest Metro station.

I was quite chuffed, because not only did I understand the question, but I was able to give him the answer too. Made me feel lika ware Muscovite, stroos Bob.

henno said...

Haha Steve, not sure I'd call myself a "ware" (true) Saigonese just quite yet!

Anonymous said...

That is so funny. Great humor-both in your writing style and your attitude.


Minh Nguyen