Thursday, July 05, 2007


The longest car ride of my life was the 14 hours to Huế. All I could think about was it better be damn worth it. We made a stop halfway for lunch that was pretty cool other than the fact that we were so tired and cramped. The restaurant sat on a river! It stood on bamboo sticks above the river and serves seafood. We ate lots of shrimp and lobster and then grudgingly got back in the car to keep going.

Getting closer to Huế, we decided to stop by Cha Thiêm’s hometown, since he was with us for that part of the trip and we were so close by. It turned out to be great because his WHOLE family, all 9 brothers and sisters were home for the summer from all the different nunneries, priesthoods, and schools. We got to see the house but not very well cause all the electricity went out for the night. Damn communists can’t even get light for the people. During this part of the trip, I started noticing a change in the priest's tone of voice. Since Hà Nội, I thought everyone there spoke the northern language and dialect, Cha Thiêm included. But he is actually from Huế and the dialect completely showed once he stepped foot back home. From then on, we noticed it so much that we didn't know how we missed it in the beginning.

I love the Huế dialect. It's the hardest form of Vietnamese to understand and write simply because it sounds nothing like what you would write down. One example is the word ngủ (sleep) for northerners, but the people from Huế pronounce it as "ngơ". Even the words they use for certain things are completely different. For example, northerners would call a fork a "xiêm" while the rest would call it a "nĩa".

That night we got the most interesting hotel of the whole two weeks. It was so colorful and bright, I thought I was in a circus. Our beds were bright red and pink, pictures of Hello Kitty on everything, and long lace curtains that were supposed to be a canopy but it felt more like mosquito nets. The lacy nets also had flower designs on them and I totally regret not taking a picture of that room. Damn the 14 hours for making me forget my picture taking duties.

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