Couchsurfing Part 2

28 Mar

‘Big Blue’ as it is fondly called by its permanant inhabitants and vistors is Ho Chi Minh City’s Couchsurfing HQ. We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit.

DJ AJAM (Adam) from the UK, Steve from Cananda, Annie from the US and Mai from the North of Vietnam have made Big Blue their home in Vietnam. For several months now this family of friends have opened their home to travellers like Alex and I. Showing how much trust this household places in strangers, Steve gave us a key to Big Blue for the duration of our stay. Once again I will take a moment to romanticise about couchsurfing; if everyone was so generous and trusting, and acted in ways that would not jeapodise such trust, the world would surely be a safer and happier place.

The expat residents of Big Blue make a living in HCMC by teaching English to Vietnamese people. Paying native speakers between $USD15 and $USD25 an hour makes this a lucrative gig as the cost of living in Vietnam is so low. Having opportunities to write for native speakers of English living in Vietnam.

Staying with Adam, Steve, Annie and Mai gave us an insight into the lives of young expats in HCMC. They have a lot of fun! On our first night in town, Steve and Annie took Alex and I to play laser tag and then bowling with their other North American mates. Much to our distress, we discovered that bowling was without bumpers. Apparently adults are not permitted to bowl with the aid of bumpers in Vietnam. Consequently we both performed miserably (my score was considerably worse than any one elses, including Alex) But we had fun regardless. I believe the $1 bottles of large beer compensated for our lack of sportsmanship.

Mai invited Alex and I to dine with her and her Filipino couchsurfing friends at a Vietnamese restaurant on the second night we stayed at Big Blue.

The food was wonderful. Our banquet which Mai ordered included small glutinous rice cakes sprinkled with dry prawns, eaten with a sweet chili and fish sauce. This food was unlike anything I have enjoyed before – prepared and served in a small dish like a jelly. See the picture below.

We also shared clams with and lemongrass cooked in a clay pot. A really interesting dish was a warm salad made of tiny mussles eaten on a crunchy poppy-seed bread, which I have seen before but never appreciated how it was best eaten.

This was one of the best restaurants I have dined in so far on this journey. I will try and find the name and address of the restaurant when I am back in HCMC later in the week so you might visit too when you are in Vietnam.

One Response to “Couchsurfing Part 2”

  1. Kim Flannery April 4, 2010 at 2:41 am #

    Sounds yummy, and looks good. It seems that they have it well thought out at Big Blue.
    Your romanticizing reminds me of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. It is a good feeling even if it is only fleeting.
    You have only been gone a few weeks and already you have met so many interesting people. Traveling is wonderful!

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