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Where I live… October 27, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Life, South East Asia, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam.
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It’s been an extremely busy week for me. Hence the lack of the updates. To rectify the situation, here’s a post that’s short on words and long on pictures.

These are shots of the little lake near my house. It’s called Truc Bach (pronouced Chook Back), and it’s famous for being the body of water into which American Senator John McCain parachuted during the American War (or the Vietnam War, if you prefer). The young Mr. McCain was subsequently “checked into the Hanoi Hilton,” and the rest is history.

It’s a very nice area that surrounds Truc Bach, very quiet and peaceful (relatively speaking). It’s a very popular place for foreigners to want to live, and while it’s becoming gentrified, it’s still a neighbourhood with a lot of character. I live on what is technically an island that is famous for a particular dish, called Pho Cuon, which consists of marinated beef strips and veggies wrapped in rice noodle paper. It’s a delicious snack that attracts young Vietnamese friends and lovers from all over the city at dinner time.

Enjoy the photos.

 

 

 

 

This is where the “Cool Teens” eat their ice cream. Obviously, I’ve never been.

 

 

 

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Bangkok is the future pt. 2… October 20, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Bangkok, Blogroll, Expat, Life, South East Asia, Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized.
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So after a bit of a delay, here is the photographic evidence of my most recent trip to Asia’s City of Angels.

Let’s start with the airport.

Slick, no? There are lots of very cool adornments inside, including a thrown and multiple shrines and sculptures. Unfortunately, none of my pictures of these things turned out.


They sure do promise a lot. While I’m not totally sure if I “experienced the Mantra of the East,” during my few hours in Suvarnmabhumi (pronounced Soo-wan-a-phum), it is certainly one of the nicest airports I’ve ever been in.

From the airport straight to Aviva’s apartment. How does she unlock the front door of her building? By using the finger print scanner, of course.

For added security, they also keep your colonic map on file (sorry, Futurama joke…).

On Sunday, we took a trip to Chatachuk, the weekend market, where we saw cops doing their patrols on Segway Scooters. Imposing…

I’d been to Chatachuk before, but it’s so unbelievably huge that this was my first foray into the pet section.

It’s dangerous for me to be in places like this because invariably I want to bring dogs home with me. Luckily, I’m well aware that one mutt and one cat are all I can handle at this point.

To a Hanoi resident, even the Skytrain seems futuristic.

Aviva explains modern Thai politics to me over Capuccino at her local coffee shop. Democracy? Well, sort of…

And that was my most recent trip to Bangkok. Next time, the beach, but for now, my focus shifts back to Vietnam’s “Communist” heartland.

Until the next post…

 

I love podcasts / people sure say some stupid shit sometimes… October 19, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Blogroll, Life, Podcasts, Politics, Pop Culture, Uncategorized.
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“We’re hoping to be able to turn grass into Cellulose Ethanol, and I hope there will be enough left for the occasional spliff.”

Gold. That was Richard Branson speaking on alternative energy sources on the October 17th episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, one of the sundry podcasts I’ve been listening to of late. I’m with ya, brother.

I’ve been growing ever more addicted to podcasts recently. I chalk it up to missing the CBC. I know that I can listen live on the web, but the time change turns me off. Instead, I just download the podcast versions of my favourite programmes, and then I’m never too far away from Sook Yin Lee and Anna Maria Tremonte and the rest. I find it’s a nice way to keep me connected to what’s going on in North America, even if it often pains me to hear it.

I’ve also been listening to Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. I find that one particularly infuriating, but I have so much respect for them and what they do. They present a forum for viewpoints that seem too often stifled by mainstream North American media, and I personally really appreciate that.

On the more light-hearted side, my favourites are Definitely Not the Opera – or DNTO for those in the know – and WTF, which I’ve mentioned before.

Somewhere in between lies Real Time with Bill Maher, which often leaves me in stitches but whose political content also tends to inflame my temper. It’s not so difficult to get me riled up. Take, for instance, the following quotation also taken from the October 17th show.

“Multiculturalism does not work in any country in the world.”

-Lou Dobbs

What kind of a ridiculous statement is that? I see this debate ultimately boiling down to semantics over the word “work,” but honestly, that’s one of the most asinine statements I have ever heard. Is Mr. Dobbs’s solution for us to split ourselves up and all live on separate islands with our own kind? I’m a white Canadian, so do I join with all the folks who look like me and live in my geographic area? But wait, my cultural heritage is a mix of Anglo-Saxon and Italian. So, what does that mean? Do I move to England or Italy? Listen, Mr. Dobbs, the very fact that many many of us are even on this planet proves that MULTICULTURALISM WORKS. It’s not always pretty, and there are conflicts, but that doesn’t mean that we should cease trying to live together in peace. If cultural hegemony is really what you’re after in the US, let’s make a deal. I’ll stay out of your country and you stay out of mine. I take that back. You’re always welcome in Canada, but quite frankly I have no interest in spending time with people who deep down wish only to ever be around their own. What a giant step backwards and a bloody waste of time. And that’s where it will necessarily lead, by the way, to bloodshed.
I’m done.

Until next time…

P.S. Anyone know of anything else interesting out there I should check out?

P.P.S. I’m having problems with my Flickr (photos) account today, so my Bangkok photos post will have to wait another day…

Why am I not in Bangkok tonight? October 18, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Bangkok, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Hip-Hop, Life, Pop Culture, South East Asia.
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Why, when J Hova has flown halfway around the world to grace SE Asia’s expats and hip-hop heads with his illustrious presence, am I wallowing in Hanoi twiddling my thumbs?

Have a great time Aviva!  I want to hear all about it.

And I can’t even go home and throw on the Black Album or Reasonable Doubt or whatever because all that ish was on my laptop.  D’oh.

Maybe a trip to the bootleg shop is in order.  Shh…don’t tell Jay…

So, due to my having forgotten the usb cable for my camera at home, I’ll have to delay my promised pics post until tomorrow.  I hope too many aren’t waiting with baited breath…

Until next time…

Bangkok is the future… October 17, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Bangkok, Blogroll, Consumerism, Expat, Hanoi, Life, Politics, Pop Culture, South East Asia, Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam.
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At least it feels that way when you’re coming from Vietnam.  From the slick new polished steel airport to the multi-cultural cosmopolitan downtown to the cops scooting around on Segway scooters, the journey from Hanoi to Bangkok traverses time as much as space.

Of course, Thailand is far from perfect, but even under martial law, life in the city appears not so different from the previous time I was there under more stable circumstances.  The mounting protests provide some insight into growing disenchantment with the military authority, but people are very calm and seem largely content with the current situation.  I think, however, they do very much expect the interim government to keep to the proposed timeline for new elections, which would put them sometime next year.

I had a good trip.  It was nice to see Aviva, as usual, and I was able to leave my computer with some technicians who actually do inspire confidence.  The bad news is they were still not able to restore my hard drive, which means I have lost a whole lot of stuff that was pretty important to me.  C’est la vie.  On the bright side, I’ll get a new hard disk and DVD burner so that in the future I will be able to make the backups I clearly should have been making all along.  And because the silver bullet is still under warrantee, the repairs won’t cost me anything.

Please, learn from my mistakes.

I was only in Bangkok for a day and half, so I didn’t really get up to too much, especially considering a sizable portion of my time was used dealing with computer stuff.  I must say, it blows my mind exactly how many different malls are crammed into close quarters around Siam Square.  Westerners need a new pastime besides CONSUMING.  Can I say that or is it too revolutionary a sentiment for this day and age?  We’re exporting these ideals to the East at a frenetic pace, yet they’re just going to NOT FILL the same void here that they already DON’T FILL in the West.  Why do we do it?  I guess misery loves company.

I’m too beat to continue this diatribe just now, so let’s make a deal.  I’ll cut it short and tomorrow, I’ll post some pics from my trip to illustrate the title line of this post.

Until then…