Apr 08 2008

A Conversation at The Green Mango

Published by at 11:40 am under Hanoi,Vietnam

On the second night of our Halong Bay tour, Brittany and I were sitting with two Canadian girls at a waterfront bar called The Green Mango as closing time approached. I didn’t notice a quiet waitress slowly walk up to our table, with her hands behind her back, until she inched up directly behind me and murmured…

“Escoo me.”


“Engla goo?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Engla goo?”

“I don’t understand. What was that?”

“Engla goo?”

“England? No, we’re from the United States.”

“Engla goo?”

“Umm, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.”

“Engla goo?”

“Do you girls know what she is asking?”

“Engla goo?”


“Engla goo?”


“Yes. Ok please.”

With this, she reveals a notebook from behind her back, and opens it to show me its contents. It quickly becomes clear that she has been working to write out the Vietnamese restaurant menu in English. She shows me a page of ingredients with names like “par me sa chee” and “bas sil” and hands me a pen. I now understand: she wants help re-writing these names into proper English. “Engla goo?” = “Is your English good?”

I indicate my agreement to try and help, and the waitress pulls up a seat next to me. For the next thirty minutes, she repeats my every word, as I write and pronounce the name of each ingredient and menu item. One page of translations somehow turns into eight, but it’s all worth it when I get my reward: “tank you ve mu.”

NEXT: Hanoi: When we weren’t drinking bia hoi… »



One response so far

One Response to “A Conversation at The Green Mango”

  1. Jodieon 08 Apr 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I think that is very sweet! What a great story!

    And by the way, its definitely a penis.


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