miércoles, 25 de agosto de 2010

Me love you long time.

If you think L.A. has a vibrant night life, you clearly haven’t been to Saigon -- also known as Ho Chi Minh City to the Che-revering fans out there. (I actually met an old man on my flight wearing the generic Che tee, to which I commented, “Sir, I enjoy your choice in T-shirts” and to which he kindly responded, “Thank you.”)

The hustle and bustle of the endless stream of motorcycles here is unmatched by the endless stream of party break-ups and drunken yelling you’d find in LA on any common night. Most of the racket I attribute to the absence of traffic regulations in Saigon, causing the need for a million and one honks of the horn per person on a scooter. I’ve seen up to 3 people per vehicle, which correlates to 3 million and 3 honks in one night per one scooter. Actually, I was one of those 3 and needless to say, received a front row seat with unbeatable acoustics.

Now, you might be asking yourself, why am I stuck behind a monitor typing away to the pacifying sounds of squealing brakes and almost-crashes instead of immersing myself in the amazing culture that is Vietnam? Well, for one, it’s about 10 pm here (13 hours ahead of the Pacific time zone) and unless you’ve got a young friend or cousin to take you to a club, you’re likely to find yourself 1) out for an after-dinner snack/drink excursion with your parents, which I would love, but alas, they are sleeping and I’d rather not go alone, for I am female and we of course by law are vulnerable, helpless things, or 2) you could find yourself clubbing with your parents. But, alas. My parents are sleeping.

So why am I not sleeping and re-energizing myself for the morrow? Well, thanks to the time difference, I just woke up.

But, thankfully, my first day in Vietnam did not just consist of arriving and sleeping. I visited my relatives I haven’t seen for so long and ate great food! (with not so great after effects, but I go to Taco Bell all the time so I’m pretty much used to it).

Photos below:

1. Barely any traffic rules. Or if there are any, very poorly enforced. There were motorcycles flying at us left and right.
2. Vịt (duck)
3. Bún (noodes), bánh mì (bread). A classic soup dish, eaten with chả (pork), bò viên (beef meatballs), and garnished with green onions to balance the meat.
4. Thanh long (dragon fruit or pitaya), măng cụt (mangosteen). Dragon fruit, with a mushy white interior and black seeds, is the product of a cactus cultivated in Southeast Asia and Mexico/South America. Mangosteen is a slightly sour white fruit divided into 4 or 5 parts and surrounded by a hard dark purple shell. It's endemic to Southeast Asia, but is only in season from May to August. Just made it!
5. Bánh canh cua (crab soup). Never had this before, but I'm eating it as a midnight snack because I did not wake up in time to go out for dinner. Dầu cháo quẩy (the pastry pieces you see inside) are common to eat with hot soups.


viernes, 20 de agosto de 2010

The War of 2010

Smoky ghosts escape from the rusty depths of hell
to be dissipated in oxygen and nitrogen.
It's a trade-off of convenience and death feigned as an unnecessary necessity.
Crests and troughs of land as far as the mind can see,
replaced by the rigid silhouette of a corporate state.
Your army infiltrates existence in every crook and nanny.
The fear of spiritual genocide hovers
or the fear that it has already happened.

miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2010

Fermented fish sauce

Sometimes external thingymajigs can really bog you down. I'm happy about this month-long trip to Vietnam. Gives me time to do things I've been neglecting, think about things I've forgotten to think about. Follow me on what I deem will be a rather interesting cultural explosion. I'm about ready to experience life in the slow lane, just for the time being.


domingo, 8 de agosto de 2010

Rule of Happy

Perspective. That's all you need.