Our big adventure for today was a Vietnamese cooking class! We gathered early in the morning to go on a tour through the cramped, hectic Hoi An marketplace. Our tour guide introduced us to all the different vegetables and fruits (One interesting one was called a "woman's boob" or something. Apparently it has no English name, so that's the rough translation from Vietnamese.), walked us through the various areas where seafood was being hacked to death and where chickens were being chopped up.
It was kind of uncomfortable, being a big, lumbering American who didn't fit under the droopy tarps while little Vietnamese women pushed their ways around me. I was definitely feeling claustrophobic and it's a good thing we didn't stay long because the various smells were beginning to get to me by the time we finished the marketplace visit.
Next on our tour was the obligatory, but seemingly unnecessary boat ride down the river. This time, we went to the cooking school/restaurant, where our instructor greeted us. The instructor apparently teaches the same class five times each day, so he tried his hardest to inject some levity into it. He made fun of people, told inappropriate jokes and laughed at all of us.
We learned to make several Vietnamese dishes, but the most interesting thing to me was making thin sheets of rice paper, which are basically used to roll everything edible up in Vietnam. The entire process takes about a day, but we were invited to try our hands at just the final part - spreading the rice batter onto a steaming cloth and gingerly peeling it off once finished.
As we worked on this delicate procedure, one of the instructor's helpers came up to Cousin Beezy and yelled, "You fail!" because she had done a poor job at spreading her rice batter. Actually, I think they determined that her burner wasn't working properly, but I laughed at her misfortune.
Later in the course, the instructor grabbed Cousin Beezy's camera to take our photo. He told her to "get close to your lover," to which we responded loudly, "COUSINS!"