I must admit that it got won faster than I thought it would, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the amazingly creative incorrect answers that came to my e-mail.. Yes, the picture was of a wooden bottle opener. We got it on our visit to Lac Thien. Here’s what one of the guidebooks (since I tore out the Central Vietnam pages and only brought those, I can’t tell you which guidebook) has to say about Lac Thien. “Probably Hue’s friendliest and most interesting restaurant, located on the citadel side. Lac Thien is run by a deaf-mute family who communicate by sign language. The food is excellent, taking in the Hue staples, and prices remain reasonable, despite its fame. Enquire about their wooden bottle openers, and you will be given one and asked to send them photos from around the world holding it to the camera.”
In actuality, it appeared that only the father of the family was deaf-mute. He took our orders. We pointed to a menu item we wanted, he would nod, we would point to the next item, he would nod again, and so on. He never wrote anything down, but each of us got precisely what we had ordered. The meal also set an informal record for cheapness. Four people had four entrees (one each), three iced coffees, two Coke Lights (Diet Coke), three fruit shakes, and one 1.5 liter bottle of water. The bill came to a whopping 121,000 Vietnamese dong, which translates into a bit less than $7.00. The food was quite adequate in terms of both amount and tastiness.
This restaurant, like some others, somewhat caters to foreigners and lets customers leave their marks on the walls and ceilings. We were, for example, preceded by this bunch. We were also able to find some philosophical musings. Finally, younger son left his mark on one of the balcony walls. We’re already thinking of places we can take the bottle opener for a photo … Monticello, the Rotunda, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 2009 Myo Sim black belt test party, etc.
Finally, the husband and sons helped me decide just what Hue prize might be appropriate for our winner. Since he spotted a bottle opener pretty darn fast, we figure he has some experience with beverages that might use one. We also know that he occasionally complains of back trouble. Those two facts can only equal the prize being a small bottle of snake wine, which is said to help ease back pain, especially if one eats the snake after drinking the wine. I have added snake wine to the list for our next foray into the depths of Dong Ba Market.
The first contest being so much fun, I decided on this morning’s walk to have another. Since I already explained the masks women wear when biking (motor or otherwise), I can’t ask about those, but I don’t think I’ve explained what’s shown in the photo below. I may even give two prizes this time, one for a correct answer and one for the best answer in the tradition of The Washington Post’s Style Invitational humor contest. The rules are the same as before. Leave a comment here, or send the answer(s) to any of my e-mail addresses. Here's the photo.