I must actually be thankful and not in complaining mode. The hotel that we are put up in has so far done a really decent job of offering us veg options. In fact, they understood all of our orders and served us – say – Pasta in red sauce (containing only tomato – no beef please. Yes. Here they eat beef like probably we eat onion or potato. Its that frequently used). Besides, every morning between 6 and 10 there’s elaborate buffet breakfast. If there are no veg options in the cooked food section, we can always eat bread and butter, cheese, salads, fruit and yoghurt. In this sense I like Vietnam better. Agreed, there are Indian stores spread over Jakarta. But when it comes to eating out, Vietnamese seem to have understood our position well. Probably because Vietnam is full of Buddhist people – some of who are actually all veg. Though very small section it must be. Because Vietnam is also a country where “dog meat” is also eaten (as it is eaten in Korea, China, Hong Kong etc etc etc). On the other hand, in Jakarta, it is always safe to eat ghar ka khana. They seem to be adding nonveg in unlikeliest places. Just last week, we bought this brown bread and were very happy because –
a) We expected that brown bread will not be sweet. In Jakarta, the name for bread is ‘ROTI’, mind you, but it is maida bread and though amazingly soft, it is – SWEET. That just puts me off. Then there are breads filled with things like chocolate sauce, maionnaise and other such items which an unsuspecting non-bahasa speaking person like me wouldnt have imagined at all in a bread. Anyways.
b) Also – we had been looking for brown bread for some time now, it being healthier than white bread etc.
The moment we got home, I opened the pack impatiently, put some butter on it and just took a bite.
OMG. The bread had egg in it! What kind of people put egg in the bread? Of course there are such people. In Indonesia. Its just that I didnt know!! Anyways. That just did it. I realised that I cannot be living in east and continue to remain 100% veg. In such small things such as bread, my unsuspecting self would be subject to small doses of nonveg from time to time. That doesnt mean that I would be okay with eating nonveg at all. Its just that if any such incident happens, whereby I happen to insert something nonveg in my mouth, I should be philosophical about it and think that even the ghaas phoos that I eat has aatma in it etc etc etc…. anyways, I am rambling….
Few comments on Vietnam –
- Weather’s just awesome. Probably temperature today is close to 18 – 19 degrees. Its just Masta…. 🙂
- This place is a small town. Not cosmopolitan like Jakarta. Its lovely in the small townish way. I like it very much.
- Its got awesome outdoor food culture. Any corner of pavement, you find small stalls and stools and people of all ages eating there. That doesnt mean that there arent any restaurants… there are ample of restaurants. And all these places, the road side shops as well as restaurants are full with people.
- Cars have wheels on left side. That means you have to walk on the right side. It is thoda confusing so far. Our keep left policy will not work here.
- We are already millionnaires in Hanoi (for that matter we were in Jakarta too). So I think 1 USD is equal to some 9500 Indonesian Rupaiah and is equal to some 20500 Vietnamese Dong. That is roughly equal to INR 48 (dont know latest exchange rate). Dong is even more devalued than Indonesian Rupaiah. But its weird paying taxi wallah some 2 lac dong for half an hour ride etc. You just go crazy doing the math. So I tend to pay dong – convert to USD – convert to INR. But I am tired of it. I am officially giving up.
I will post few pictures from here in some days…..
Lastly, today we complete a month into ‘holy matrimony’… 🙂 seems like yesterday. So far, so good.