On our way from Hue to Hoi An, we pulled our bikes over at a place called Elephant Falls to take a dip in some natural pools. It was crowded with locals who were eating, drinking, and swimming at the falls. One family saw the three of us in the water and tossed us some beers. Next thing I knew, I was being force fed Vietnamese barbecue and crushing beers with our new friends.
The entire family, including parents and children, posted up on a bamboo deck to BBQ and drink all day. I was jealous of them until I remembered that my family basically does the same thing but on a sailboat. The family did not speak any English, but we managed rudimentary communication through simple words and hand motions. Whenever I tried to refuse more food or beer, the dad would tap me on my belly and point to more food. They consistently ignored my protest, refilling my rice bowl with food and my glass with beer.
Vietnamese BBQ is a bit different than American BBQ. We started with some grilled squid and small mystery fish. Then we moved on to the main course. A foundation of rice was topped with chicken feet, noodles, and morning glory veggies. Everything was very flavorful and delicious. I won’t ever be eating chicken feet back in the states though.
While we ate, the father jokingly tried to get us to marry her daughters. I’m pretty sure he asked us if we were gay by spending a few minutes motioning to his own man boobs. We did our best to talk to them about how much we are enjoying their country. I’m absolutely blown away by the warmth of these people. They welcomed us, total strangers, into their family and fed us without asking for a penny (or dong) in return. I can’t say I have ever done this for tourists back home.
Eventually we got the message across that we couldn’t keep drinking beers because we didn’t want to die on our motorbikes. They let us go, and we drove on to Hoi An with a priceless memory of Vietnamese hospitality.