There have been a number of Vietnamese restaurants that have opened in Victoria since we were last here for any length of time. Mai and I have been trying the Pho in each of the places to find our favorite. Pho is the most common dish in Vietnam. It is served for breakfast as eggs and toast is here. Generally it will be served piping hot poured onto thinly sliced raw beef that is cooked by the hot broth. Along with the noodle soup you will be given a plate of vegetables, bean sprouts, and a lime wedge. Squeeze in the lime if desired and add whatever vegetables you want, mix them all together, and for a little spiciness, mix the brown hoisin sauce with the red hot sauce you will find on the table into a small bowl and use it to dip your beef in. mmmmmmm. Anyway….. we finally discovered a small Vietnamese restaurant that has very good food, but ran into a bit of a snag. We ordered our orders by the actual Vietnamese names of the dishes. Mai included the dish number in hers, but I did not. I ordered soup with rare beef and beef balls. I received my order but when I mixed it, I found no beef balls. The waiter came by and Mai spoke to him in Vietnamese, but got no answer about the missing beef balls. We were getting frustrated and when a waitress passed by, we mentioned that the order was incorrect, but I was hungry and had are half by now. She offered to bring some beef balls, but I decided it was too late as I was half finished. We finished and I called to the waiter in Vietnamese to bring the bill. Instead of getting the bill ready for me, he came to the table to ask what I wanted. I was starting to get very impatient with this fellow, first he get my order wrong, then he walked away not answering my wife, and now he did not bring the bill. I asked him why all the mistakes… is my pronunciation of Vietnamese so bad he could not understand me? His answer came as a bit of a surprise. “I am sorry sir, I am Japanese and do not know any Vietnamese” AArrrgghh!! I wish he would have said something and I would not have wasted all the effort.
Today my father made a picnic lunch for all of us to eat. We headed for a beach in the Oak Bay area, but were blocked by some kind of tea party parade. I have no idea what it was all about, however, we decided lunch would taste just as good if we ate it in Beacon Hill park. The park is located in Victoria on the southern most tip of Vancouver island. I am fortunate enough to have a condo across the street from this park, but have never lived there. It stays rented until one day I return to Canada to retire for real…whatever that means. Beacon Hill park is a beautiful large park with an abundance of flowers, blooming trees and bushes. The wildlife seems to tolerate our presence and calmly walks aside if we get too close. The only unwelcome critters to me are the crows and seagulls that seem to be present everywhere a person travels. The crows can be aggressive and they are forever harassing the seagulls causing them to screech noisily. Of course there is the ever present danger of being bombed by a seagull letting one loose overhead. One had landed on the drivers window of the car. For the first time I saw a very large peacock in a tree. I never knew they could fly. I always assumed that the big cumbersome birds were much like turkeys and grounded. We ambled along the beautiful pathways for a while before returning and dropping my parents at their home. Mai and I continued on a long walk passing rows of antique shops and a lot of men standing motionless with their hats held out.
I have to wonder about this place. There seems to be way more beggars and appearingly homeless people than there is in Vietnam. It is a very common sight to see a person leaning on the side of a building with some kind of gimmick to get a free handout. One fellow came up and asked for a quarter, after just lighting a tailor made cigarette that was worth at least as much. A quarter?? Yea right. Then there is another man a few steps down with two of the biggest Rottweiler / Unknown crosses I have ever seen. What does he need the hand out for? To feed his dogs? Sheesh!! They are everywhere. There are three cruise ships in port today and I can see some of the tourists dropping coins into the open hats. I do not mind if they are busking in some way, or offering some kind of entertainment. Our 4 hour walk took us to Chinatown and around to the waterfront. I will pick up there tomorrow