Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mr. Kitchen Day didn't go so well this year.....

Mr. Kitchen Day (Ông Táo chầu trời) is my favourite holiday in Viet Nam!  I had first learned about it quite by accident, and had gradually figgered out what the story behind it really was (a simple, short, yet funny explanation can be found here).  

So, last year, I began to celebrate it.  I had my mother-in-law buy a big-ass live fish (I *THINK* it was an Asian Carp, 'cause the sonnabitch kept jumping outta the tub filled with water that we had it in) at the street market that she goes to every day, and Tam, Emily and I walked to the lake behind my house and released the fish, in an attempt to appease Mr. Kitchen!

Soooo, this year, given that I NOW KNOW the story, I requested that my mother-in-law buy THREE mid-sized fish for us to release (you know....kinda goes along with the story linked to above about Ông Táo and how there are three people named Gods over this entire incident).

Well, sadly, whilst they were sitting in the bucket all day, one of 'em bought the farm and the other two weren't looking very healthy!  So, at sunset, Tam, Emily, Minh Tuan and I walked to the lack and tossed 'em in.  Dead fishie just kinda floated....the half-dead fishie kinda dropped down to the bottom of the lake like a rock and the other one was fine!  

Hopefully this isn't ominous of the way this approaching Lunar New Year is going to go for me....

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Gonna take my annual Tet road trip tomorrow! Usually, every year shortly after Tet day (THEE first day of the new lunar year), I am granted clemency by the wife to run away from Hai Phong for a few days to escape the all-shops-closed-nothing-moving-SKULLCRUSHING-BOREDOM that IS Hai Phong one week before and one week after Tet day.  For example, last year, Tam actually joined me as we went to Ho Chi Minh City right after Tet and it was extremely therapeutic!

Well, Tam, being extremely traditional, enjoys hanging around the home and hearth during the Tet days, and this year, she is going to do just that! This trip is just going to be a short seven day skooter ride to Mong Cau in the very far northeast corner of Viet Nam and, if time permits, a bus ride to the Chinese city of Nanning forra day or two.  Figger since I begged, screamed, threatened and cried at the Chinese Embassy staff back in November to give me a long-term (or at LEAST a multi-entry) visa, they finally took pity and gave me a TWO-entry visa for China.  This visa expires on the 10th of February.....soooooo....figger that, for what I paid for the Goddamm over-priced visa, may as well git my use outta it!

First day is gonna end at some little tiny-ass town a bit more than halfway between Hai Phong and Mong Cai called Tiên Yên. THIS should be interesting as to if I actually MAKE it, as, the last time I had attempted (than gave up at the town of Cam Pha) this ride, back in 2009, Goddamm
Highway 18 was a nearly impassable nightmare due to its being in such shitty shape and total lack of road maintainence (basically crater-sized holes in the road that could swallow a Goddamm CAR!!!)!  SUPPOSEDLY, my buddy Dave from Flagstaff said that HE did the ride from Hai Phong to Mong Cai a year ago and it was generally all we can only hope they improved the road.

More tomorrow from Tiên Yên.....or wherever the hell I end up!



Anonymous said...

So, 2 outta the 3 fishes ... Sleep with the fish? Very clever.

- V -

E said...

As Meat Loaf sang, two outta three ain't bad!