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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Phuong"Kellie" Tran from Tarentum and Quy Nhon

My good friend Kellie who taught me so much about the Vietnamese people and how to speak just enough to get me in trouble. I diverted my tour from Nha Trang to Quy Nhon so I could visit her and her family. Her brother was in an accident so she and her mother went back to see that he was Ok, it just worked out that I was going to be in their area and with a little change of plans and a train ticket to Dieu Tri which is just outside of town I was able to visit and meet her extended family and friends and have a wonderful visit with Phuong (which is Kellie's Vietnamese name). She took me to a wonderful seafood restaurant where you throw your seafood shells on the floor...interesting custom and we ate way too much. Later we went for tea at an outdoor cafe where they serve pumpkin seeds and some other roasted seeds as an appetizer. In the evening she had to take me for what she called Vietnamese Pizza. It's more of a crepe called "ban xeo" and was delicious, filled with boiled eggs vegetables and meats or seafood of choice. There was thich cay (dog) on most of the menus and found many places expounding the virtues of the 7 different ways of cooking. I didn't sample that particular delicacy but I tried alot of different things I never tasted before. My new found favorite was grilled squid...soooo good. Along the way I met many of Kellie's childhood friends and some of her family and they were so nice to me. They wouldn't let me pay for anything (a Viet custom) I was told and was treated like royalty. The beaches in Quy Nhon were magnificent and the surrounding mountains added to the overview of this exotic country. Notice Kellie sticks out like a sore thumb in her native country, she's now Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) and looked at in a different manner, all Viet Kieu are millionaires and have all forgotten their humble beginnings. That's what I'm told is the collective opinion of the most native Viets. I was in Quy Nhon once before on my way to Pleiku and had a layover and the hospitality of the 101st Airmobile. I accually stayed and slept in the bed of my friend from home Lee "Rusty" Leuice who was out on a mission at the time "hence the available bunk" and drank afew beers with his hootch mates before departing for Tuy Hoa the next morning and abit of a dressing down from the CO there for not being in the proper uniform and not having the regulation haircut......what were they gonna do to me....send me to Vietnam for cryin' out loud?

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