Food babies don’t translate

I just finished my first ten days in Vietnam with a bulging food baby and have thus taken a minor hiatus from the blog for a few days while I whittle back to a healthy state. But here are a few things I learned about food babies in Vietnam:

  1. The term doesn’t translate. Hard as I tried to explain via graphic hand gestures, Captain Binh–the capable hands that guided our private boat around Ha Long Bay– just laughed and laughed at me. Pretty sure he thought I was indeed preggers, and thus partaking in one too many bias [[translate: beer]]. Captain Binh cheersed my bia with a glass of water, which we soon found out was in fact straight hard-A. Barely a word was understood between our captain, Chef Dong and 3 American gals over dinner [[translate: a hot pot of every protein under the Vietnam sun, eaten on a bamboo matt in the middle of 2,000+ floating rock structures]]. No. Words were not necessary that night. That night we just laughed over a food baby.
  2. Yes, you read that right. 3 American gals. Though I bid adieu to American gal #1 nearly two weeks ago, I was so blessed to reunite in Cat Ba Island with two more Seattleites to continue this beautiful journey with. If I had to guess, I’d say that Mariko and Kim saw the best and the worst of travel in their hurried, but precious two week trek. The best being, the food babies, the worst being when food babies decide they wanna prematurely come back up. Be it my first bout of travel sickness or the toddler we saw that took a gigantic dump on the train station floor [[intentionally… encouraged by his mother…acknowledged by nobody, except for the 3 wide-eyed American gals]]. Yes, Mariko, Kim and I took our friendship to the next level in Vietnam. We’re talkin no-bodily-function-holds-bar-kind of friendship.
  3. Some actual babies are used in a satirical but traditional tourism ploy to provide food for their local Hmong families in Sapa, Vietnam. It’s a poor area, from a westerner perspective, and it makes me sad to see little kids begging tourists for money, rather than playing with their friends. If perspective was indeed a goal for this growth n grace thing, I found it in Sapa. I left with a renewed sense of gratitude for my carefree baby-hood and the food that always graced our dinner table.

From a highly-recommended junk boat cruise down Ha Long Bay, to motor biking through the Sapa rice paddies; from foodie heaven in Hanoi to the  sweet lantern-lit streets of Hoi An; from  gorging ourselves on Vietnamese iced coffee and fresh spring rolls to getting fitted for custom made dresses, our schedule may have centered around food baby-makin, but our shared iPhone photo album proves it was a well-rounded sensory  adventure for the books.

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