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Hanoi photos post… March 9, 2007

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Life, Photography, South East Asia, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam.
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I have to admit that I find photo posts easier to do than wordy posts. My mental faculties have been heavily taxed lately, and while photo posts are actually probably more time intensive, they don’t seem to take quite as much out of me. To be sure, I love words and language, but the activity of writing requires a certain kind of patience and attention to detail that I am all too often reluctant to invest in. There you have it; after three not particularly well structured sentences, I’m spent. Instead of me continuing to read my blather (noun?) about nothing, enjoy a series of photos taken during Aviva’s last visit to Hanoi. She wrote a travel piece on the city and commissioned me to follow her around (as I generally do anyway) and take photos.

Enjoy…


This is the freaky mannequin head that lives upstairs at Puku (God, I love that place)


More Puku


2/3 of usual Puku meal: juice & cappucino (only missing is the Eggs Benedict)


Some Poinsettas at a pagoda near West Lake


The counter at which I order the delicious Eggs Benny


The last two feature Lake Truc Bach, the small island upon which I live…on…


Near West Lake where all the fancy pantses live


In case you weren’t aware, Binh hearts Linh

Until next time…

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Beach Holiday… February 25, 2007

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Bangkok, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Life, Photography, South East Asia, Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam.
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Rather than spend my Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) holiday family and friendless in Hanoi, I took a trip to Thailand to see my favourite Canadian expat in Asia, Aviva.

We started in Bangkok, as always, before taking a much needed and endlessly enjoyed beach holiday to Koh Samed.

Samed is a gorgeous little island, about three and a half hours out of Bangkok by bus and ferry. There are numerous white sand beaches all along the coast of the island, all contained within a national park. We stayed on one of the cheaper backpackery beaches with wonderfully fine sand and copious friendly dogs. We stayed in a rustic little beachside resort, peppered with what are best described as tree-houses, containing nothing more than mattresses and a fan. We splurged for one of the concrete structures with a private bathroom. There was no A/C, but actually the fan was all we needed. The mattresses, however, were rock solid, and I don’t think either of us got a great sleep either night we were there. I will say, it was the least I’ve ever gotten for $20 for accommodation in Asia, but it in no way hindered our enjoyment of the idyllic wonderland that is Koh Samed.

All along the coast were similar resorts with beachside restaurants, a few of them on mats right down on the sand. We tried as many of the restaurants as possible, sampling everything from Phad Thai to seafood to hamburgers and Western breakfasts. And at every turn, there was a sad eyed (but well-fed) dog begging in the sand for table scraps. That is when Aviva wasn’t chasing the dogs around the beach and into the surf.

As the holiday coincided with the Chinese New Year, there were a number of eye popping fireworks displays. They also do something very cool big paper lanterns, which they torch and then release into the sky. Needless to say, sitting in the sand and watching these things float away, it was a very nice atmosphere.

After two days and countless beers on the beach and trips into the sea, we returned to Bangkok to enjoy its unique spirit before I had to turn around and come back to reality in Hanoi.

So, now I’m right back into the grind, but I will say that my batteries are very much recharged. Aviva wrote a very nice travel piece about Koh Samed for ANN magazine, so look out for that if you happen to be flying in the region on a Star Alliance flight. In the meantime, here’s a handful of photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time…

Kien, come home… February 9, 2007

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Blogroll, Expat, Life, South East Asia, Uncategorized.
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So, while I was away in Canada my cat Kien ran away from home.  It was never uncommon for him to be outside for a few hours at a time or occaisionally overnight, but he’s now been missing for about six weeks.  I’ve heard so many stories about cats coming home after months or years, so I remain hopeful, but I’ve also heard a lot of stories from locals suggesting some sort of foul play is a distinct possibility.

So, when I returned to my house in early January there was no cat to greet me.  That was until Huong – my housekeeper, a very sweet woman – took it upon herself to bring me a new kitten.  At first, I was certain I was going to get rid of her, not least because the Chihuahua was very nervous early on.  But in the days that followed, they bonded, and the dog is now comfortable (the cat was at home from day one).  It seems now as though the cat will stick around, at least for a while.

I’ve mentioned this story to a couple people, and they’ve requested pictures, so here they are.

Until next time…

To make itself presentable to the rest of the world, America should trim away its Bush… November 18, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Life, Politics, South East Asia, Vietnam, Work, Working in Vietnam.
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Ho Chi Minh looms as Bush touts Vietnam lessons – CNN.com

 

It’s a beautiful day in Hanoi, 25 C, partly cloudly. The city’s downtown is happily largely unaffected by all the APEC hoopla. I’m lucky enough to live and work in areas where there isn’t need for tight security. For instance, after a particularly late night at work on Thursday – and despite a supposed midnight curfew for restaurants and bars – my boss and I retired to a popular Hanoi restaurant for “a drink.” Next thing I know, it’s 2 am, and we’re on the dance floor with dozens more drinking Moet straight from the bottle. Take that you lockdown nazis!

I haven’t seen Bush – happily – but my roomate has. His motorcade twice passed her office bulding yesterday, and she caught a glimpse of self-interest personified. He was hanging out the window of one limo waving, while his well-loved Secretary of State occupied a stretch to herself, also greeting the gawkers in fast motion. Why do you never have a water balloon ready when you REALLY need one?

Haven’t heard much about Mr Harper (Canada’s PM for my non-Canuck readers), but I know he’s here. Apparenly, he will be meeting with Hu Jintao after all.

Harper, Chinese president in awkward dance over potential meeting in Hanoi – Yahoo! News

Don’t relent, Stevo. Stick to your guns. Of course the D a l a i L a m a* deserves honourary Canadian citizenship. He’s the best living example of patience,
empathy and peace I can name. Chinese opposition to him is purely partisan.

Do you want your government conducting nuclear tests in your backyard while concurrently seeking to systematically eliminate your unique cultural identity? Then you can understand the D a l a i L a m a ‘s position.

God bless him.

But of course, T e b i t is of such “strategic importance” to China, so what the hell do I know?

Until next time…

* Funny formatting / spelling is my attempt at circumventing China’s search engine filters.

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I only know Ho Chi Minh…. November 16, 2006

Posted by somelikeitscott in Asia, Blogroll, Expat, Hanoi, Life, Politics, South East Asia, Travel, Vietnam, Work, Working in Vietnam.
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Here’s what one of Canada’s national newspapers is reporting on the APEC summit in Hanoi.  It gives you a pretty good idea of what’s going on.  Although, I must say, it’s more or less business as usual where I am.

globeandmail.com: Hanoi in near lockdown for APEC summit

It is true what they say about Vietnam being virtually free of violent crime – at least directed at foreigners.  I can’t tell you what the situation is between the Vietnamese, themselves.  Obviously, it’s never reported on in the English language press. 

My personal connection to APEC is that the company for which I work was asked to provide gifts for Mr and Mrs Moron plus his main yes-person.  He, or I should say the American people, received a very nice – if overtly feminine – golf bag.  One of the other people from our office – a Yank –  and I were joking about which kind of animal excrement to  leave inside.  We settled on “chicken.”  Was is H-591 infected?  Only time will tell. 

For those of you out there without a sense of humour, I’m joking.  Of course, it wasn’t infected.*
____

Also from the Globe & Mail, this article about Canada’s souring relationship with China.  Finally, I have found something for which I can respect Stephen Harper.  China’s human rights record is appalling, and if Harper has the fortitude to make Canada’s point rather than pandering to economic whims, then I salute him for it.  Now, he just needs to get his shit together with respect to the environment, and we’ll be in good shape. 

globeandmail.com: PM says he won’t sell out human rights

Thanks to Aviva for bringing the first article to my attention.

*And, no, I didn’t actually do that.  It was a lot of fun to think about, though…

Until next time…

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