Friday, March 09, 2007

International Women's Day

As I went looking for some flowers, I'm thinking 'wasn't Valentine's Day just a month ago?'

Yes, indeed it was. IWD is sort of mix between Secretary's Day (um, make that Admin Assistant Day) and V-Day. Staff expects a little something to mark the day, so a little something was to be had.

In the first party, thirty-some staff went out a few days ago for dinner. Parties for large groups invariably result in "lẫu" (hotpot) being the food of choice. Being the newbie and nominally a supervisor, this meant I vainly parried offerings of just-cooked morsels all night.

In the second party, I took the office out for lunch. This time, a more manageable 9. And yes, it was hotpot again - but it was a few days later, with a wholly different group of folks, so I was more than game. They also know me a bit better, so I didn't have to work so hard to refuse their offers and just help myself to the food. Of course, drinking Bia Hanoi in the middle of the day led to the levity as well. [$3.5/head, including drinks, at a local, sit on plastic stools sorta joint. I would go back if I knew where it is.]

For dinner, VA and I went to Mai Kinh, one of the better local restaurants we've been to. [$5/head, incl. drinks] Just a slight contrast to how we spent Valentine's Day here, going to dinner at Bobby Chinn's (as an aside, Christie Todd Whitman was also eating there that night; it felt like we were back in DC eating at a politico joint. Small world. Unlike DC, on our way out we stopped by her table to introduce ourselves and said hi. She was friendly, as expected.).

Before calling it a night, we went to a bar/cafe, Cafe Z, situated across the street from the US Ambassador's residence. It was packed with young couples out celebrating IWD. It's pretty obvious that, compared to Valentine's Day, IWD is more widely celebrated here.

The bar was, unfortunately, crap. They made the mistake of serving a drink made by mixing draft beer and grenadine. I made the mistake of ordering it. The only thing that should be mixed with beer is whiskey or more beer.

And the final bill included a line for tax. Tax! After 6 weeks here, I'm getting used to not tipping and not getting charged tax. In every place but this one, tax is inclusive in the price. Not going back there again.

1 comment:

Thong said...

Christie Todd Whitman - I'd hit it.