November 11, 2004

Vietnam Surprise

We spent a fun morning in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), riding on three-wheeled bicycle taxis, called cyclos. The humid weather had taken its toll, and both Jamie and I were in need of refreshments and lunch.

We asked our cyclo-drivers to take us to a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant we finally arrived at, was a small place with white walls and an open shop front. We perched ourselves, with our new cyclo friends, on a table outside the restaurant. As usual, beer was the first priority of concern.

Our beer arrived in thick, pseudo-crystal glasses. As is the way in many developing countries, large chunks of dubious ice were added to the beer. Caution is always a wise practice concerning any water products, and ice is no exception. There was a somewhat embarrassing display, as we both fingered our beers in a desperate effort to remove the offending ice.

After eating Pho - a traditional dish of beef slices, noodles and soup - my friend decided it was time to relieve himself. When he returned to the table, he enigmatically told me that I should go to the toilet. I replied that I was fine, but he insisted that I should go. The more it was discussed, the more the urge and the beer played their magic, so under my friend's fierce insistence, I went to the tiny toilet room at the back of the restaurant.

As I was functioning like any male, I was thinking how odd my friend's behaviour had been. I really would not have gone to the toilet, if he had not been so steadfast. I looked around, glancing at the griminess of the little room. My attention was suddenly drawn to the wall directly in front of me. Sitting very plumply, was the largest spider I have ever seen on any of my travels. It just sat there doing its business, whilst watching me do mine.

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