Wednesday, July 22, 2009

just the thing

i am getting ready for my upcoming trip across the pond. i must admit that i'm feeling a wee bit frantic as i am trying to get everything done before i leave. even seemingly simple things like obtaining currency before i leave become rather inconvenient....

i hate going to currency exchange places or paying the various withdrawal fees out of international atms. usually it isn't an issue as one of my bank branches does currency exchange w/o charging fees. yet, they have limited hours these days and there is a new gal working the currency window. i miss the one that was there before.....that one knew what she was doing....the one working there now is a bit questionable. when i asked to withdraw pounds and euros from one of my accounts, the new gal tried to tell me that they didn't have any pounds. i just raised an eyebrow as she explained that they don't carry scottish money. i said that i was going to england.


naturally, this comment caused me to question her abilities in general and i actually checked over my receipts (something i never had to do with the last one) and i'm glad that i did, because she withdrew the funds out of the wrong account.


then, i went off to go pay my august rent early. as i went into the agency's office, the front desk lady took my check and put it in a box and thought we were done. oh no, we were not done. i asked "may i have a receipt please?" and just smiled politely as she got all huffy and puffy. i have learned my lesson with this agency. the first time i paid early and i was traveling around on my epic multi-city and multi-country induction into my company, i get a call from JB who was looking in on my cats saying that the agency stuck a notice on my door saying that i hadn't paid rent (which of course i had). so now, i ask for a receipt and leave copies of said receipt with the building manager as evidence.

it is usually pretty difficult to do something to me twice. quite.

by the time these errands were complete i was in a pretty crabby mood. as folks could tell, i'm not really looking forward to next week. i am absolutely looking forward to spending time in london and rome, but in order to get to the london and rome part....i have to do the manchester part first. given my crabby mood, i decided that i should hop on BART and just immerse myself in some vietnamese food.

so i did. you know what, it was just what i needed.

i had already had done my weekly visit to kim huong and had the pho tai (gasp! i tried something new). don't believe me? here is the evidence...

but today's visit would make it twice in a week! this time, i sat at the bar

and i had my usual...the bun bo hue

one of the owners provided some the spicy homemade chili paste that he makes that is influenced from a trip he made to africa a while ago.

i love mixing it into the soup....

i didn't stop there with the vietnamese food. i also made a stop into cam huong to get some bánh giò and che togo for my lunch tomorrow. i also picked up some almond pudding which i pounced on once i got back home.

my change in mood was pretty amazing. after i had my soup and purchased the goodies, i could almost feel a skip in my step by the time i got back on BART. it shouldn't be a surprise that i would find such solace and comfort in vietnamese food. it is something i turn to again and again....and will likely continue to do so. obviously, it was just the thing.....just what i needed. sometimes it is really nice to get what i need.

kim huong, 304 10th Street (between Harrison St & Webster St), oakland, ca 94607, (510) 836-3139,

cam huong, 920 webster street, (between 10th St & 9th St), oakland, ca 94607, (510) 444-8800

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