Saturday 24 March 2012

Half Hatched Expectations

So we joined this photography tour for Ben to improve his travel shooting opportunities, and one of my first thoughts was, so what do I do? I like taking photos to a certain extent, but mine are more happy snappy taken with the pocket-sized S90, simply because I don't want to forget. I wondered about the people we would meet on the tour, and what we would talk about. I understand enough technical aspects of the art form to carry a conversation, but lenses and lighting simply don't captivate me as much as they do my other half.

We met up with our new travel companions for dinner in Ho Chi Minh City, all of whom we discovered were retired, or near enough. Excellent, we're not working either, we have something in common, for a year at least. Everyone seemed to already know each other, and we realised that they were all from the same photography club in Castle Hill, Sydney, only a couple of suburbs from where I grew up. Its a small world …

Khanh, our local guide for this tour, took us to a buffet restaurant near the centre of the city. We usually avoid buffets as the food tends to be bland and often overcooked, but this one managed to surprise me. The food was authentic, and with a lot of Vietnamese dishes that required self-assembling from the vast array of condiments anyway, the choices were fresh and tasty. But the real surprise came when I asked "What type of egg is this?". A special kind of duck egg called Half Hatched Egg; a delicacy in Vietnam, where a duck starts to develop in a fertilised egg, before the egg is steamed whole, shell cracked open and the contents slurped out. Not everyone's cup of tea, I understand, and I thought I was the only one excited about trying this unique dish. But I found a kindred spirit in Kevan, another non-photographer who had accompanied his wife Alia, a keen Nikon user, on this tour. Kevan's wild taste buds helped keep my own hesitations at bay, and we devoured our eggy duckling foetuses. Grinning, we articulated tastes and textures of creamy feathers (and yes I think that was a beak) for the benefit of our horrified fellow diners.

Half-Hatched Egg - A Vietnamese Delicacy
I think I might enjoy this tour.

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