Sometimes, setting out to do one simple thing can lead to unexpected but pleasant and warm encounters that transcend language barriers and reach deep, past our superficial physical differences. I had just such an encounter in Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage listed town in central Vietnam. It was approaching noon, and my gear was packed and stowed in the hotel lobby awaiting my pick-up by the bus company that would take me north to Hue, the old imperial capital. (My pick-up arrived in the form of a 17-year old girl and her Honda scooter: she took me and my gear to the bus station a few kilometres away). In the meantime, I was hungry. I spied a sign on a footpath outside a house. It read: "Com" – rice.
I walked up to this little eatery. The dish of the day was "Com ga" – chicken rice. It is served with spinach in a broth and copious amounts of Vietnamese tea.