Second to last recap of Vietnam, and to be honest, I’m pretty glad that the recap stream is almost over! It’s been overwhelming tackling both studying, working, nurturing my clubs, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and blossoming my friendships as of now! Plus, there’s always the importance of blogging, otherwise writing whatever comes to mind and heart. But anyways, just like the last recap, this one will be relatively short to make things easier to read. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
This day consisted of a ton of interesting events: visiting a shop-farm, exploring historical landmarks of the Vietnam war, and eating my body weight in coconut yucca. Yep, I think I actually did eat my body weight in coconut yucca. It was all so splendid! You’ll have to read on for more pictures and descriptions
Once again, breakfast was a savory platter of rice noodles, mint, cucumber, fried onions, bean sprouts, faux chicken, and vegetarian soy-based “fish” sauce! The combination was really simple, but also incredibly refreshing!
For a quick water-stop, we parked in front of a shop that also held a small farm of ducks, dogs, and pigs. We were taken to look at the animals, and I felt a subtle breeze of sadness within after seeing their living circumstances. The pigs were incredibly dirty, stenchy, and confined in a small fence box, as was the dog who looked cleaner.
Despite being dirty, the wild pigs looked so adorable and innocent. I felt relatively pitiful of their conditions.
Here’s the dog!
And the ducks!
Snack-attack: more ripened apple bananas! I ended up having four of these bananas–though I did genuinely want to eat some more, my mother didn’t want to buy me the whole batch of bananas. Even more unfortunately, one of the farmers started dragging a piglet from a rope to show some visitors who wanted to see the animals. The piglet was screeching with fright and hesitance as the farmer continued to yank with more force. My family and I just watched quietly and somberly. I almost didn’t want to believe that this was the reality of the experience. I wished I said something. Now, I’m devastated I didn’t.
Sorry to suddenly diverge on a pretty depressing note! Anyhow, when my family and I returned to the designated vehicle, I munched on some dried fruit and vegetable chips. I tried to avoid the sour stalk and stem chips as much as possible. Hands down, the apple banana chips and sweet potato chips were my favorites!
Right before we entered the Cu Chi tunnel exhibition, my grandmother had to introduce us to coconut yucca. It was mainly for me, because I had to skimp on lunch when the rest of my family consumed pho.
Even if I did have something to eat at lunch, I would have wholeheartedly preferred this coconut yucca. It was mindblowingly delicious! The yucca was soft, dense, hearty, and filling like a potato, but the sweetness and fatty flavors from the coconut melded so perfectly with the yucca. I ate the entire bag so swiftly!
Hello, Cu Chi tunnel exhibition! Our family bought tickets for a tour guide (we actually picked the local tour because 90% of us are, well, locals who speak Vietnamese!) and started exploring the history of the Vietnam War once it started! My mother told my sisters and I to pretend that nothing seemed too foreign in order to mesh into the social etiquette of the locals. It was pretty easy to do so. Even though I didn’t understand a single word that my tour guide spoke, it was thrilling to explore each escape tunnel and trap that was preserved from the war!
Viewing all of the tunnels and holes tucked into the ground painted images of what the Vietnam War actually appeared to be in the exact same locations. My thoughts on the war reawakened in a different mindset: so many soldiers, men, women, children, parents, siblings, couples, partners, and friends sacrificed their lives to protect those who were badly affected by the turmoil. Most of the war was so treacherous that new lives would begin underneath the ground in these Cu Chi tunnels. Inside the tunnels are utter darkness, stuffiness, heat, moisture, and infestation of insects and germs.
Aside from tunnels were booby traps with punji sticks poking at the bottom to stab the enemies. Whether the traps resembled windshield wipers, window doors, or chair legs, they looked utterly gruesome without actually showing any physical signs of blood or corpses. The mere images I pictured inside my mind were unfathomable!
Lastly, the trip was concluded with–surprise, surprise–boiled yucca with granulated sugar and ground almonds to dip in! Though I preferred the coconut yucca from earlier in the day, this was still really delicious!
Wow, a yucca root plant that’s taller than me!
Our drive home was accompanied by even MORE coconut yucca for me to eat on the road, and a few other bags for snacking throughout the following days!
To say that dinner was a feast of favorites would be an understatement. Our family and close friends all united at my grandmother’s home to enjoy some hearty grilled meats and vegetables. Meanwhile, I was treated with a table of my favorite string bean and eggplant tofu stir-fry, vegan soup with faux meat, vegetables, cabbage, pickled vegetables, and butter lettuce! Everything tasted so deliciously that I had five bowls of both the stir-fry and the soup! Oh yes, and TONS of the lettuce!