The residency is starting to come together. The pieces are shaping up and are sounding cool, we just need to trim some fat off them. Rehearsal isn’t exactly riveting. I spent the majority of this morning drawing a fully colored cartoon eggplant on my iPad, but hey it came out pretty cool.
Other than music, I’ve been sampling a lot of different Vietnamese cuisine. Every region of Vietnam has specialties, for example Hoi An is known for its Cao Lau and Mi Quang, which are noodle dishes with a bunch of things in them. I gotta be honest, those were okay. I know my wife is gonna kill me, but the best meal I’ve had here has been a hamburger and french fries. I KNOW, I KNOW. I’m a culture-less misanthrope who can’t enjoy anything beyond his sad provincial upbringing. I get it, trust me. But, you don’t know how happy that burger and fries made me. Jesus Christ, I almost cried.
That being said, I have opened up my horizons a bit. I’ve never really eaten that much seafood before. I just never really got into it. Honestly, fish with bones scare me. I’m not trying to get one of those stuck in my throat. I didn’t even know that was a possibility until I saw my buddy Eliott choke on one as I was eating a fish with him that honestly wasn’t that good anyway and I thought to myself, okay, that seals the deal, I’m out. Look, I grew up eating tuna out of a can, I couldn’t pick a tuna out of a line up. It never even occurred to me that fish had bones.
But I am growing as a person (though my growth is microscopic compared to that of the average person, but hey I’m trying). We went to a seafood restaurant for one of our colleague’s birthdays and I tried a bunch of different things. Squid, clams, stingray, shrimp salad, fish soup, and of course….french fries. I swear I didn’t order them, someone did it for me…but I ate a lot of them. The clams were my favorite. You dip them in this salt with lime sauce and it’s fantastic. People got these huge raw oysters to eat, but I tapped out there. I don’t know, I just couldn’t do it. What’s in the oyster shell looks like what comes out when I clean the pipes underneath the sink (which also is a sign of growth for me that I know what that looks like because earlier in my life trying to do any sort of manual labor quickly devolved into me shouting obscenities and kicking the wall).
I will say that the river right by our hotel is quite pretty at night when it’s illuminated by quaint boats with picturesque colored lanterns. Too bad it’s right next to a tourist hellhole. It’s all foreigners here and you walk down the street and after barreling through 400 Korean tourists taking photos, all the people at the restaurants are aggressively trying to get you to come in and eat there. This is just because we are in the tourist sphincter of Hoi An. When I stayed here a couple months ago while my wife was teaching a workshop, we stayed off the beaten path and I barely saw any foreigners at all. You could walk two minutes to some really beautiful rice fields and drive to the beach as well. That was a lot more enjoyable.
You know you’re not exactly in the most authentic part of Hoi An when there’s an Irish pub a two minute walk from your hotel. But hey, at least I can get a burger.