Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

It may look like coffee, but it’s really ROCKETFUEL!!


A typical serving of ca phe sua da.

This is cà phê sữa đá (kah fay suh dah). The good people of Vietnam claim that this is simply an indigenous concoction made of very strong robusta coffee mixed with a generous helping of condensed milk served over ice. That’s a lie. It’s really just too much caffeine, too much sugar, and too much lactose served way too cold. In the past few weeks, I’ve begun to suspect that there’s probably a lot more going on here than just coffee and condensed milk.

The first time I tried the stuff, it caught in my throat as all my teeth screamed and tried to run for their lives. Despite a vivid image in my mind of my teeth melting away into brown goo, I winced at the syrupy sweetness and swallowed it down. It hit my stomach and 15 seconds after that it hit my brain. It began like a sweet melody on the flute preceding the full cacophonous crescendo of the orchestra–an orchestra made up of my own neurons. On fire. Before I could gather my senses the words “what the fuck?” had slithered out from between tightly clenched jaws.

Within two minutes I was bouncing off the walls. By ten minutes I had completed a whopping 4 pages of documentation. It’s a pity that my bosses don’t consider four pages of gibberish made up of the letters A, S, D, F, J, K, L and “;”. Perhaps the local staff had heard of my penchant for drinking lots of coffee during the day. Personally, I think it was a devious tactic by management to keep me working in Vietnam.

You see on the second day, without even asking, the nice lady who greets me when I walk in, smiled and brought me another mug of the stuff. Not wanting to offend, I braced myself and put the straw to my lips. To my surprise, it went down with nary a peep from my teeth or throat. This went on for a couple of days, and sonofagun, this stuff was starting to taste mighty good.

Until my first day late for work. I smiled sheepishly at the nice old lady and settled myself in. I surfed a bit as I relished the thought of that mug of brew on its way up to me. Sonofabitch. It never came. It was only 15 minutes!! Why were they punishing me?? I stood up to ask for some when suddenly NO ONE spoke any English in that office. Even the nice old lady just smiled as I twitched and tried to ask for coffee in English, French, Filipino and American Sign Language.

The next day, despite rushing as best I could, I was late again. I sat down at my desk and waited; five minutes, and then ten minutes. No fucking coffee again.

I’ve never been late since. Ever. I think they put crack in it. Now I know why Vietnam has never lost a war. Can you imagine an entire population loaded up with this stuff? I’d walk into a hail of gunfire for another shot. Now I just want to do a good job, do a good job do a good job because you never know. You never know you never know when theyll take away my ca phe sua da. Ca phe sua da ca phe sua da. Yes, that’s Vietnamese. For brown liquid crack go juice. Xin loi, toi muon ca phe sua da.

I’m sorry, I’m on my second second second mug of this stuff is what I’m on. It’s really really good good good. Think sweet holy mother of god caffeine-stacked mud. With with with ice iiice.

I just just just just just want to go home. But… coffee. Must have coffee. Coffee coffee coffee coffee… MUST ASDK JAIJAS EFJ A;KDF AS LDJKF ASDF JALSF ASLDKFD JFJ LAS FA;L SJFKDJFASJ SJFLSJI JFK S FKSJSL ALFAKS FAJF AF L

TellLL my wifE I love herR….

The Pope on Ca Phe Sua Da

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4 Comments»

  heidi wrote @

hey taj… we miss you here in RCBC… heard you lost a lot of friggin weight… good you talked about coffee and not veggies or else…

  The Pope wrote @

All lies. LOL. Veggies are my next topic. 🙂

  I was there: helmet day 2007. « Sede Vacante wrote @

[…] December, 2007 at 3:35pm · Filed under Vietnam Some day, while talking to friends over cà phê sữa đá, a teenager in Viet Nam will look at his shiny motorbike helmet and marvel at the thought that […]

  The third day is over… « Sede Vacante wrote @

[…] like something is missing with my common workaday experiences.  Even the simple joy of having ca phe sua da feels strangely castrated and incomplete.  Taking a break from work (where you usually have only […]


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