the word from above

The word from above has been given, “Though shalt have a minimum two plants outside your house, or else”. By this time last Thursday that decree was to have been observed and it was amusing to watch the activities in our hem from Tuesday evening until late on Thursday as evaluations were done, observations made, doorbells rung, visitations visited, neighbours clucking, pots appearing, pots being shuffled, plants copping fertiliser, and so it went.

For us it made no difference cos we’ve had two plants outside our house for some time now…

word from above

For others who’ve been enthusiastic pot plant outside the front doorites it was a non-event…

word from above

Others made an effort…

word from above

Well, sort of an effort…

word from above

word from above

word from above

But some just haven’t got into the spirit of the whole thing at all…

word from above

christmas is upon us

Last night I realised I was hearing christmas carols playing from houses around the neighbourhood. They were in both English and Vietnamese, but of course the melodies are unmistakeable no matter what language the lyrics. Later in the evening while sitting at a small pavement style seafood place I even noticed the CD vendors are using christmas carols to broadcast their presence at warp 10 through junky speakers mounted on bicycles with cart attached. In yet another sign that christmas is upon us, decorations are going up here and there. I’m very impressed with the effort the people from this small house near ours have put in, this nativity scene is hand crafted from alfoil and to my untrained eye they’ve done a great job.

christmas is upon us

christmas is upon us

chocolat de vietnam

Somebody once said that you learn something new every day, and today I learned that Viet Nam is producing some first class chocolate, first class that is if you enjoy proper dark chocolate that doesn’t contain so much sugar that it becomes sickly sweet. It just so happens that I enjoy dark and slightly bitter chocolate and today I came across some chocolat de vietnam that makes my taste buds really happy.

This is a really high class product produced by Marou, just take a look at the detail that’s gone into the wrapping, it was shameful to mess with the beauty of it all. But… lets face it folks, it is all about the chocolat de vietnam waiting to be disrobed and feasted upon… am I right? Oooh la la, sexy chocolat!

The thing that took my eye with this brand of chocolat was the way that Marou promote the fact that it’s made wholly from produce grown in Viet Nam, but even more pleasant is the fact that they promote the styles of chocolat produced from different provinces close to Sai Gon. The map below borrowed from the Marou web site shows that chocolat de vietnam is available from Dong Nai, (the first style I’ve tried), Baria, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Lam Dong.

Bliss, I have four styles yet to try. Where did I buy it you ask? Well… I bought this block at Mekong Merchant in An Phu, but it seems to be available worldwide.

[Click on a thumbnail to witness a shameless disrobing of chocolat de vietnam]



cool new home

This is the air con in my home office and it seems as though it’s found new tenants. The sparrows have found a way in from the outside and are setting up shop so to speak. I couldn’t work out a few days ago why their tweeting and fluttering about sounded so close, but a few tail feathers sticking out occasionally and now this bedding that slipped through confirms it. I have some new office buddies in a cool new home!


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new aggressive marketing method?

Could this be the newest trend in marketing children’s clothing? An “up yours” sort of attitude?

“If you don’t like our gear well too bad, up yours!”

Recently seen in Parkson District 1

yet another disturbing event

About 30 minutes ago I was walking back from eating lunch at Now Zone on Nguyen Van Cu St and was on the pavement verging the Nga sau Cong hoa roundabout midway between Ng. Van Cu and Pham Viet Chanh outside the German beer restaurant. This roundabout is the confluence of Ng. Thi Minh Khai, Ly Thai To, Hung Vuong, Tran Phu, Pham Viet Chanh and Ng. Van Cu street’s and is a very busy intersection. It’s also the confluence point for Districts 1, 3 and 5.

I heard some shouting coming from within the traffic and looked up to see two men on a motorbike heading in the wrong direction against the traffic flow with two other men seemingly in pursuit about two bike lengths behind them. The passenger on the second bike was doing all the yelling and waving his arms about, either telling people to get out of the way or to stop the two men in front. It was very difficult to hear because of the heavy traffic noise. I quickly noticed that the passenger on the second bike was holding a black automatic pistol in his hand, and I should point out that all four men were dressed in civilian clothes.

Traffic in the centre of the intersection quickly became chaotic, but somehow the pursued were finding a way through with the two on their tail seeming to get closer. In amongst the chaos the guy on the back of the second bike fired the pistol in the air, and I have to tell you, the sharp report of the shot scared the hell out of me. The two bikes were lost to view in the traffic then and I (should I say “we” because by now the street was packed with onlookers), could not see them until they came out into Ng. Van Cu and headed off towards District 4.

I have a thing about unexpectedly hearing guns fired that no doubt is a legacy from my time in the army and I don’t mind admitting that the hairs were still standing up on the back of my neck when I reached my house. I’m sure that, by their actions, these were police chasing criminals, but it was unnerving nevertheless. I seem to have a knack lately for being on the scene as this previous article describes. Is it just my random fortune to witness these events, or is this city becoming more prone to this type of action? I hope it’s not the latter.

last week in Buon Ma Thuot

As I mentioned in the previous post below, last week I travelled up to Buon Ma Thuot in the Central Highlands for a week helping young children with their English. Although the trip itself (9.5 hours by bus), and the actual teaching were very tiring, it was certainly worthwhile and a lot of fun. I’ll happily do that again. Clicking on the image below will take you to an image album from the trip.

Buon Ma Thuot