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The Kirwan Twins Adventures We've finally graduated, so we're setting off for three months to backpack around India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand before entering the "real world."

Seven Women at the Dinner Table

VIETNAM | Saturday, 19 May 2007 | Views [637] | Comments [1]

Traveling with four ladies is manageable, so is five. Seven may be stretching it, especially when your choice destination is a town renowned for its tailor shops and food. Our clan of seven women included Ilsa, Izzy, Mamma, Dimity, Emily, Shana, and me (Emma). Hoi An is a lazy riverside town, where the French left their architectural and gastronomic heritage on every street corner and alleyway. Baguettes and chocolate croissants abound, and quaint structures decorate the streets with balconies draped in florescent flowers.

Hoi An is typically where tourists stop to have fancy suits, evening attire, or daily wear designed and fitted at an astonishingly low price. So, that is exactly what we did in between meals. Our female group clamoured about the town, all managing to end up at one tailor shop where we each ordered about six or seven personally designed articles of clothing. Each item required two fittings, at least. So in between our endless fittings, we sauntered off to a nearby cafe where another endless session of ordering proceeded. This time we were ordering food. If you are a lady (or have dined with more than one girl at a time) you will be quite familiar with the additions, modifications, and indecision required at every meal when ordering. Needless to say, our meals resulted in a very puzzled waiter and a gigantic feast since everyone wanted one or two different dishes, which we of course polished off.

Our activities, however, were not limited to fashion designing and eating. We strayed slightly from these Hoi An norms by signing up for a cooking course. A chef first took us to a local market where we learned about various local delicacies and ingredients as we tip-toed over putrid puddles of fishwater and meat scraps (which the locals happily sloshed through). We then boarded a boat for a scenic ride down the river to the Red Bridge Cooking School. We watched a cook prepare aromatic dishes of sweet-and-sour squid and veggies in a pineapple, fresh rice paper spring rolls, and other specialties. We were nearly drooling with hunger when we took our posts at the cooking stations and took a stab at making our own rice paper. At last, we were seated on an open-air porch overlooking the river where we feasted on the various dishes we had made.

That evening, Dimity and I were tucked into bed on the verge of dozing off when Mamma walked into the room and uttered three very clear syllables; "Oh my god." I followed her gaze to the ceiling where a tarantula-sized spider occupied the better part of a corner. Dimity squealed and hid under the covers as I tip-toed to get my camera. It was nearly midnight and the hotel staff had shutdown the lobby, so finding someone to rescue us from this arachnid was tricky. Mamma finally managed to rouse a young man from his sleeping hammock outside the front door by pointing her flashlight into his mosquito net. (Hotel staff sleep on lobby benches or behind the desk on mattresses in the event that a customer needs their assistance). The sleepy man came into our room with a large pole which he rammed against the ceiling - the spider scurried along the wall with the pole in tail as the three of us squealed louder in our pajamas. Finally, the man was able to smash the spider against the wall and it tumbled into Mamma's mosquito net as a leg went flying in the other direction. He picked it up as if a large coin had fallen on the floor and paraded out of our room, leaving the furry leg behind. Our brave Mamma located the limb and flushed it down the toilet. We all dreamed of spiders that night.  Good thing Francesca wasn't with us - she'd have woken the whole hotel!!


Tags: Laughter



Thoroughly enjoying these posts! Keep 'em up!

--Dan Frisch

  Dan Frisch May 29, 2007 10:12 PM

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