20 March 2011

Super Full Moon

The Super Full Moon of March 19th arrived in Vietnam last night. After reading that it only occurs every 20 years or so, and that the moon would be 14% larger than normal, I readied myself with moonrise information. I scouted out the hotel grounds for photo op locations. I had no idea where the moon would rise but was out and searching at 5:40pm.

I’d read on the NASA site that the best photos are taken when the moon is still low on the horizon and there is an object, like a tree, in front of it. There are lots of palm trees around but I knew they would be too tall to get a shot of the moon just coming up. I needn’t have worried; it was still light until after 6:00pm and I couldn’t even find the moon. Eventually I did, it was beautiful, but even my new, very expensive camera was not up to awesome lunar shots. I went out several times during the night, but had no further luck in producing the beautiful moon picture I had hoped for.

That adventure over with, I needed to start on a serious effort of eating properly. The worst thing about hotel living is that you can’t prepare much of your own food. Buying fresh fruit and carrots is no problem. And last week I made the 35 minute bus trip out to the only supermarket in the region and was able to stock up on Corn Flakes, cashews, soy milk, and orange juice. (in those boxes that have a shelf life of 50 years.) But that really isn’t the best way to eat for weeks at a time.

One would think that in a locale which was only small fishing villages until about ten years ago when the tourism trade took off, it would be easy to get a fantastic meal of grilled fish. Not so. Yesterday I tried yet another local restaurant and I swear the fish had been marinated in mothballs.

And that brings up another question; what type of fish have I been ordering? The menu may have several different fish listed but when I question further I find out they only offer the one fish I have eaten since arriving. It is not very good, it is always overcooked and the flavor goes from bland to hideous. I find myself forcing down food and trying not to think about what I am eating or where it came from.

There are also my particular food requirements. I don’t do MSG. This has nothing to do with philosophical or religious reasons, but bad-reaction reasons. Migraines and puking for a day or two after ingesting the stuff is not pleasant. When I go into any restaurant I tell them, in three different languages, that I can’t eat MSG. (Ajinomoto, Bot Ngot, Knorr). Sometimes they tell me they don’t use it but when questioned further say, “but it’s just a little.” And even when they swear they will not use any, they do.

So I will try to figure out how to eat well. And I will try to ignore the closet moths that are multiplying at an alarming rate and, I assume, devouring my clothes. And I will also remember that cleaning with water-only is how they do it here, so must just get used to it. The rest of it is still on the amazing scale, so I think I should do just fine.