Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 42 of 62 › view all entries
Bong chips ice from a two-kilo block. He fills a wide stout glass, carefully rations a black syrup-like substance into it, then mixes the two ingredients with a miniature spoon. Sometimes he'll add a layer of sweetened condensed milk. The brew dilutes as the ice melts; Vietnamese coffee. The drink is very popular among the locals. His wife, Hai, sometime makes deliveries by gracefully balancing a tray of the black iced gold with one hand and driving a motorbike with the other. Buss passengers waited while the driver returned an empty glass.
Located along the south side of the prominent Cultural Center building, and half a block from the beach, Bong and Hai also offer tea, soft drinks, bottled water, beer, and cigarettes. No food or snacks. A recycled one-liter plastic water bottle filled with gasoline stands curb-side on a cardboard box luring passing motorbikes to expand the business further.
I have always admired the street-side venders. In Vietnam, they are the heart-beat of daily life in a once-Third World country rapidly growing modern and destined to become mainstream. Their hard-earned rewards are proportional to their struggling efforts. It was a privilege to hang out with Bong and Hai while sipping iced Tiger beers. There are hundreds in Nha Trang like them offering a wide variety of goods and services to everyday people.