Our last couple nights in Vietnam were in Ho Chi Minh City, and Mr. Ben was able to join us for dinner and drinks both nights. And drink we did.
Delicious, delicious pho at Pho Le, where we were definitely the only non-Vietnamese diners:
The detritus of our meal, below... We had a little bit of confusion over the number of beers we wanted... it didn't help that the beer name is "333" and we wanted three 333 beers. First only two came out (I think they assumed I didn't want to drink), then 5 came out for our second round. We drank them all.
The hard working pho ladies at Pho Le... a well-oiled pho making machine, these three:
After pho, we went on a somewhat misguided search for bia hoi (literally "fresh beer," from what I understand)- light and sweet beer brewed on a daily basis without preservatives, usually served at little streetside cafes for about 15-30 cents a glass. Tim said he saw large groups of Vietnamese men drinking it on basically every street corner in Hanoi, but we were having trouble finding it in Ho Chi Minh City for some reason. Ultimately we ended up finding it in the backpacker district... Afterwards I did some googling and I determined that perhaps bia hoi is more of a northern Vietnam specialty, which is why we had trouble finding it down south. But find it and drink it we did, all while sitting on butt-stranglingly small plastic chairs, of course:
While drinking our bia hoi, I saw this lady hawking dried squid from the back of her bike with an "Old Propaganda Posters" sign behind her:
During our bia hoi session, it started to rain. When the patrons of the streetside cafe in which we were sitting noticed that the rain was preventing their customers from enjoying their bia hoi, they jumped up and pulled a plastic tarp over us. But the best part is what they were wearing while they did so... the woman was wearing the typical pajama-esque outfit, while the guy was shirtless, wearing boxers and had a cigarette dangling out of his mouth:
Tim and Ben moved on from the bia hoi to Saigon beers... alcohol content insufficient for their taste?
(The lady behind them was selling spicy crabs to drunken backpackers. It's no Jumbo Slice, but hey.)
Ben bought the world's biggest sesame-covered rice cracker from a street vendor: