Several weeks before we left for Vietnam, I already booked a 2D1N tour to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island from Sunshine Travel. According to the itinerary given to me, we would be picked up at our hotel by 8:00 AM. It wasn't eight yet when Mr. Huang (sorry for misspelling) stood in front of our hotel's dining room while I was busy savoring my French bread.
Here's the story about French bread in Vietnam. I read in the menu:
- Noodle... bla, bla, bla.
- French bread with omellete... bla, bla, bla.
- Toast with omellete... bla, bla, bla.
Tia said she wanted toast, so I required to the lady in the hotel, "One toast and one French bread, please."
"Same," she said.
"No. Not the same," I said again. "One toast and one French bread."
"Yes, the same," again she answered.
At that time Tia was sitting outside. I thought maybe she didn't understand that I was ordering breakfast for two. I tried to explain. "There are 2 of us. I want French bread and my friend wants toast."
"Yes, yes." She said something else, but I couldn't get her. I just assumed that she understood me. Toast should be the usual bread which you use to put into a toaster and French bread should be French bread. The way it's seperated in the menu between Vietnamese breakfast and Western breakfast also indicates the differents.
To my surprise she came out with 2 dishes of French bread on a tray. Worried that Tia would be upset because that's not what she wanted, I quickly said my protest. "I want one toast and one French bread."
"Yes, toast and French bread," she said.
"Toast and French bread?? These are both French breads!"
"Yes, toast and French bread. The same."
"What do you mean 'the same'?"
She repeated: "Yes, toast and French bread. The same."
"You mean, 'toast' and 'French bread' are the same?"
"Yes," she said.
I picked up the menu on the table and pointed to "Western Breakfast" and then to "Vietnamese Breakfast". "So either you choose toast or French bread, it's the same?"
"Yes," she said again for the eighth time. Aaarrrggghhh!!! No wonder she kept on repeating "same, same".
Mr. Huang came and I wasn't even half through my French bread. Thanks to Tia who broad many clean plastic bags. She gave me one and I hurriedly put the rest loaf of French toast bread into it along with the butter and jam. Dragging my suitcase along, I rushed to the door.
No seemingly tourist bus at all! But Mr. Huang was still standing there. "Has the bus gone?" I asked half panicked.
"No, the bus is still on the way fetching other guests." Mr. Huang replied.
"So the bus hasn't come yet?" (These Vietnamese people are making me confused!)
"No." (Now it's "no" not "yes".)
"But the bus had come already, and then left again. Right?"
"So when you came here, the bus hasn't come yet?"