Coca Cola on the Rocks


Vietnam was the first country I visited in South East Asia and I fell in love with it instantly. I lived in Saigon for one year and I loved everything about it. But it took me a while to get used to its way of life.

One day, in my first week there, I was wondering around the streets and being not used to the climate got very thirsty. I saw a tiny shop and went in.  There was not much of a choice, just Coke, not that I minded. I asked for it and a smiling old lady pulled out a small glass bottle. She opened it, and just when I thought I was getting it, put it aside (out of my reach) and started filling the small transparent plastic bag with crushed ice. Now I was curious, and attempted to guess how  I would put that ice in a bottle.  Guess what – it was the other way around. The woman emptied my bottle of coke into the plastic bag with ice , stuck the straw into it and gave it to me. I started to protest and said that I wanted my coke in a bottle, and no ice thank you, but all got was a plastic bag with a Coke in it and a big, sincere smile. I had to take it. Later I realized that all beverages were sold this way – plastic bag with crushed ice, a straw and a beverage of your choice. As it turned out for the reason only God knows the government did not allow to sell the beverages in the bottles. The shops had to return the bottles to wherever they belonged to – one of the things one must accept without asking any questions.

By the way, ice tea is served with the crushed ice as well. You get a steaming hot tea in one glass and another full of ice. You need to pour hot tea into the glass with the ice and voila. I still use this amazingly simple technique to these days.