We just got home from a two-and-half week trip to Southeast Asia, catching an awful cold after we landed in San Franciso. That’s why I’ve been a little silent. The combination of jet lag and congestion/coughing/sore throat has not been fun to deal with, though we count our blessings that we rarely get sick.
The trip gave me lots to think about because we visited Singapore, Penang (Malaysia), and Saigon and Phu Quoc island in Vietnam. I met up with friends, ate a ton and had a terrific time. I’ll write about some of the stuff I experienced in the future but right now, a poignant incident sticks out in my mind.
While on Phu Quoc island, we took a drive to a small fishing town. Famished, my friend Cuong was looking for a banh beo (steamed rice pancake) vendor he’d spotted, and his pursuit of the vendor led us to a residential area. Seemingly out of nowhere, a man came up to me and said in Vietnamese, “Would you please help me with something?” He was so earnest (not a nut job) that I replied, “Of course.” I had no idea what he wanted but felt like I needed to hear his story.