Suddenly the phrasebook makes a lot more sense.

The travel app I downloaded for the trip to Asia I just began offers translations for phrases of questionable utility, like “You seem confident!” and “Is there a lawyer who speaks English?” In my morning Vietnamese practice sessions — I’ve named the fish who live in the water feature on my balcony for the numbers one through eight, and use them to run through basic math in Vietnamese each morning — I’ve not revisited either of these sentences.

Obviously, one especially hopes one would not need the latter phrase, especially because one (read: me) would likely be unable to properly pronounce it and would end up deeply insulting someone’s father or accidentally purchasing a crate full of live turtles.

Unfortunately, I might need that lawyer yet, although it’s not my fault. See, I got a little heat rash roughly 0.5 nanoseconds after landing in Vietnam despite going from an air conditioned plane to an air conditioned airport to an air conditioned van to an air conditioned hotel. Also, it’s only in the mid-70s, and not particularly sunny. Truly, I have a gift.

I’ve been treating it with a wee travel size bottle of Gold Bond Medicated Powder, because I am apparently someone’s grandmother. Unfortunately, applying Gold Bond Medicated Powder is not a tidy experience, and if your bathroom has dark tile floors it might look like you’ve been on a massive coke binge. Sadly, my app does not include a translation for “It’s Gold Bond Medicated Powder for a heat rash, I swear!*”

Anyway, in case I end up wasting away in a Vietnamese prison, I loved you all. At least I had some really good bun cha.

*”Đó là vàng Bond bột tẩm thuốc cho một ban nhiệt, tôi hứa!” But I still have no idea how to pronounce it. In addition to a heat rash, I’m suffering a severe case of DMOS (Diacritical Mark Overload Syndrome).


  1. Just for fun, I ran your Vietnamese through an online (read: unreliable) translator. This is what it came up with: “That is the Gold Bond powder coated for a ban, I promise!”


  2. Translation apps, and those online translation websites. I’d love for there to be a sort of rating system for them. Like with hotels and restaurants.


  3. “I’ve been treating it with a wee travel size bottle of Gold Bond Medicated Powder, because I am apparently someone’s grandmother.” Laughed out loud at that. You make geriatric look pretty awesome.

    Best of luck staying out of prison! You seem like the troublemaking type.


  4. I’m worried that your cheekiness, which I love, may wind you up in dire straits behind bars. Well, not really but I clicked the “like” button because I’m happy you are communicating with us followers. I wish I could send you some homemade healing salve as it works better than Gold Bond. Maybe your next post will be titled What’s better Gold Bond? Then we followers can submit recipes for stuff you won’t be able to make there … snort! Yes, I’m pretty cheeky too but have learned how to hide that away online.


  5. Oh right and did I mention I’m the visually challenged Queen of missing words? I meant to type: “Maybe your next post will be titled What’s better than Gold Bond?”

    And now we all know why I don’t comment frequently and would never apply to be a Happiness Engineer. I lose my words too frequently to consider doing so. I’m off to find a large rock to nest under.


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