Armed with my new knowledge of numbers in Vietnamese, I decided to venture out to the street market near my house. I wanted to make a soup for lunch and I was missing some key ingredients.
I surveyed the street quickly to decide which vendor I would buy my produce from. I decided on a smiling old lady who didn't seem frightened by the prospect of communicating with someone who obviously had a loose grasp on the Vietnamese language.
I pointed to everything I wanted and shot numbers out like a rookie. After having picked a lot of vegetables, I panicked. shit. I only left the house with the equivalent of about $2.50 Canadian. I was a little ambitious about being able to haggle to a low and acceptable price. I didn't know how to say i'm really sorry, but I just realised I only brought 30,000 dong. I surely had passed that price, even if she were ripping me off. I pulled out what I and was making a face and gestures and saying xin loi to excuse myself.
She pulled the 30,000 out of my hand and then gave me some more bills back. I imagined she would then only leave me with the kilo of potatoes and I would shamefully be on my way back home. But then she dumped all the veggies I had chosen into by bike basket, and sent me off on my way.
I guess I had enough.
The damage: 26,ooo dong (2$ Canadian) for a kilo of potatoes, 4 tomatoes, 4 hot chilies, a handful of green onions, a yellow onion, and a giant bunch of some sort of spinach-like vegetable.
4 years ago