Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dinner and a Movie

Coming back to my rental pad, which has a strict 12:30 curfew, wherein they seal the front doors with an industrial, roll-up metal gate, I stopped by the banh mi sandwich guy next door. I was thinking of eating at the local sit-down, open-till-late, Chinese noodle shop this evening, but I didn't want to upset (and wake up) the curfew guardians any more than necessary, for it was a bit past 12:30 already.


The street was unusually lively tonight - this part of town gets pretty quiet after 11-ish pm, save for the strolling couples shacking up for an evening.  There were lots of people about, and the fancy Chinese restaurant down the street was still open for some reason. 

A quick look around, some attempts at reading the banners on the buses, realizing that the tall, slim women walking about were unaccompanied. led to the conclusion that I stumbled upon a movie set.  The bus above, and the other ones parked along the road, served as the actors' trailer.

I got talking to the sandwich guy.  He was a bit amused by all the actresses walking in front of his staked out slice of pavement.  He didn't really care for the actors, who were not much different from the gaffers on set.  I don't think anyone - either cast or crew - patronized his eatery that evening.

He told me, proudly and for good reason, that he's been here "since the French."  You know a Vietnamese person is old when they are referencing the French.  He was older, but the French era was 60 years ago and he didn't look *that* old.  So of course I playfully challenge him on this, and it turned out that he and his father/family, have sold banh mi in this spot since the French.  What a view of history that must've been.  

In the time it took to make me two banh mi, two other customers, folks north of 50 years old, rode up on their motos. I gather with time comes a steady customer base. My Vietnamese is rather poor, so I missed most of the jokes concerning the actresses, but it was an interesting interchange nonetheless. The sandwiches.. well, I've had better. But it was worth it for the conversation.

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