The rain fell in droves and we had not yet purchased our conical hats. The rain we expected. This was ‘Nam. I’ve seen Forest Gump. However, the fact that we had lasted 4 days without buying the prototypical hats worn by Vietnamese rice farmers?
That was shocking.
We had gone in search of a lunch spot, to satisfy both our hunger and our need to be out of the rain. When we saw the small house with its tiny table and chain link fence for a wall we almost walked by – thankfully, for our heads and our hearts, we didn’t.
The “Restaurant” had two options:
1) Chicken and Rice
2) Noodles and Pork
The venerable old woman got up from her bed inside her house, where she was watching television on a set bought in the 60’s, and greeted us warmly. Despite the lack of options it still took us a moment to decide what we would have. Should we get two chicken and one pork, or one chicken and two pork? Maybe they should have just had one item on the menu.
When our host delivered the plates we carved into them, marveling at the flavor and at our humble surroundings. Only in a small village like Hoi An, could you experience such contrast. We soaked it in as we sat in our small plastic red chairs.
As the rain was still falling, we jumped at the chance to retain our dryness as well as a keepsake from such an experience. Of course, we purchased the largest hat he had. If not for the novelty than simply to keep our shoulders dry. In the end, we walked away with a dry upper torso and an extremely warm feeling, thanks in full to the unlikely restaurant and its two gracious hosts.