the bean store – on Vo Van Tan

There are so many new food/coffee shops opening around Vo Van Tan and Cao Thang Sts in District 3 these days that it’s hard to keep up with them. But in the interests of my stomach I keep trying to update constantly. The Bean Store is yet another new one, clean, quiet, sensible background music,nice decor, friendly staff, great menu, good food, reasonable prices, what more need I say?? Give it a try!

The Bean Shop

The Bean Shop

circus gala

I’ve never been overly keen on circuses, they’ve never been on the top of my priority list as entertainment. I don’t particularly like animal acts because there is always the thought in my mind that cruelty has been involved in the training process somewhere and anyway, isn’t it demeaning to parade around a bear dressed like a little girl wearing a leather muzzle? Isn’t it? Better than being confined to a cage for the extraction of bile juices I hear you say… well yes… true.

However, on the cnr of Pham Ngu Lao and Nguyen Trai Sts there’s a permanent big top that once a year puts on a circus gala performance and until last Sunday night, I’d never been to one. A couple of my friends had recommended it to me over the years but, I was reluctant. Finally making it to the ticket counter increased my reluctance when I saw the price of a ticket, but what the hey, we gave it a go anyway and, apart from the few animal acts and one rather weak magician, I was pleasantly surprised.

The magician was good, very very good, at showing the audience exactly where he was pulling his tricks from under his cape that is. But the jugglers, clowns, trapeze artists, and gymnasts were excellent. All in all a great evenings entertainment, worth the admission price after all and next time there’s a circus gala in town they’ve got me.

Apologies in advance for the image quality, lighting you know!


free university course

I’ve just signed up for a course from the University of Virginia in the US that’s facilitated and conducted online by a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. The company is called Coursera and their aim is to create a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions.


The course I’ve chosen to undertake is called, “How Things Work 1” and it’s described as being;

Designed for non-science students, this course is a practical introduction to physics and science in everyday life. It considers objects from the world around us, identifying and exploring the scientific concepts upon which they’re based. Because it starts with objects and looks within them for science, it is the reverse of a traditional physics class. The emphasis of this semester is on mechanical objects, objects that involve fluids, objects that involve heat, and resonant objects.

how things work

I was heartened to discover that the course instructor, Louis A. Bloomfield, was a tinkerer as a child because I was just the same. I also was one of those children who loved to pull things apart to find out how they worked and try to get them back together again, and yes, I also suffered many an electrical shock and caused many a stain on the polished timber floors of my bedroom from spillages caused by odd experiments. So… this course could be perfectly tailored for me. It doesn’t begin until January 14 next year, so I’ll be chomping at the bit for a couple of months waiting to get on with it.

What a great concept Coursera have come up with, free university courses. It means that students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend a decent university, or in fact any university at all, will now have the chance to learn from some of the very best.

The founder of MultiUni here in Viet Nam, Huy Zing, is now a software developer at Coursera and he’ll be talking at RMIT University next Monday night.



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

a new intake of carbohydrates

Just last week, Tous les Jours, a Korean based French pastry chain opened a new outlet just a few hundred metres from our house. This is very dangerous to a healthy lifestyle and trim waistline, but very handy for a quick treat also.

rooftop garden

The rooftop garden on our house in the middle of Sai Gon city may not be large, but it never fails to intrigue and relax me. When the weather is not too hot, it’s my place to go and get away from this computer.