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February 27, 2008
my luggage gets an unexpected holiday

I am now back in Sai Gon and was going to write that my flight over with the Qantas owned discount airline JetStar was arguably the most comfortable and friendly (staff wise) flight I have taken over here, and the fact is, it was. However, for approximately 15 passengers including myself it was disappointing to […]

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December 26, 2007
helmets

Well, it hasn’t taken very long for people in Sai Gon to begin flaunting the new helmet laws. It was only on December 15 that nearly every person remarkably complied with the new law requiring helmets for drivers and passengers of motorbikes to be worn everywhere in Viet Nam. The police were out in force […]

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December 18, 2007
first Mai flowers

The first Mai flowers of the season remind me that Tet is on the way.  

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December 17, 2007
on beating of dogs and daughters

For me at least the trauma of witnessing my neighbour beating his dog and daughter is over. The family sold the house and moved out last week. The father of the new family looks far less likely to give repeat performances.

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December 17, 2007
helmet day

Saturday morning and the streets of Sai Gon are awash with a new array of shapes and colours in the form of helmets. Yep, Saturday 15 was “helmet day” and finally, after many thwarted attempts, the powers that be here have finally convinced the population that they must wear helmets when travelling on a motorbike. […]

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November 9, 2007
this is getting to be too much

I thought that maybe when I saw the police visit my dog, daughter & wife beating neighbour a couple of days ago that they had been talking to him about not beating his dog. However, if the exhibition I watched just a few moments ago is any indication, that is not so. This man is […]

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October 7, 2007
not so hidden violence

While I’m in Ha Noi my friend Nhan is living in my house in Sai Gon and a few nights ago he sent me a text message about a neighbour on the other side of the hem who he had just seen savagely beating his small dog. Nhan had seen this happen twice and was […]

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September 17, 2007
late afternoon snack

Three elderly gentlemen enjoying an afternoon snack of deep fried sweet pastries on a street in Nam Dinh City south of Ha Noi  

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August 29, 2007
of dogs and rats and fresh beer

Living in Viet Nam means adapting to local conditions of cleanliness and hygiene. If you want to eat and drink with the locals then you had better be tolerant of conditions that would not be acceptable in more developed areas of the world. Vietnamese people are well aware of this and tell me that it […]

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August 29, 2007
confucious says…

Walking down my hem this morning made me think of a saying. “Person who walks with nose in the air is destined to step in dog shit”.

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August 18, 2007
contemplating community, isolation and consumerism

Living alone in my old house in Sai Gon certainly has its advantages. I can do pretty much what I want whenever I want without bothering anybody. However, it can also be a very lonely and isolating experience. Even though I have many friends in this city and, modern communications being what they are, I […]

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August 18, 2007
Xin Mai

Little Xin Mai has become the centre of attention in this hem since she arrived here from Taiwan with her parents a few weeks ago. Vietnamese people love their children so much and this little girl is being spoiled by every auntie, uncle and cousin in the hem. Its a beautiful thing to watch. In […]

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August 13, 2007
the morning routine

Each morning as I sit having my ca phe this old lady takes her exercise and I find comfort in the continuity of this process having watched her do this for many years now. She strolls at a slow pace up and down the pavement on Nguyen Dinh Chieu St accompanied by the younger lady […]

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August 9, 2007
if this lady can smile, so should we all

I have seen this lady before, in fact every time I’ve eaten at the tiny Pizza Roma on the corner of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Thi Dieu Sts she has appeared, bobbing around from table to table, barely seen as she navigates her way to each set of diners offering her fist full […]

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July 26, 2007
hat xam or nhac xam or nhac vang

This video footage was taken from my rooftop garden looking down into the hem a short while ago. The lady playing guitar and singing is blind or visually impaired and is being led along by a young guy selling lottery tickets. There is some debate about whether this current form of blind street music/begging is […]

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July 26, 2007
friends, seafood, beer, what more could you want?

Last night I met at this place on Pham Ngoc Thach St with 3 of my former colleagues from RMIT. Janice (on the left) is teaching in New York now and is back here on vacation. This is the 3rd night in a row that I’ve eaten oysters here. And why not, these are the […]

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July 26, 2007
ca phe phin - the morning ritual

If you want to make the best cup of coffee in the world, first you need the best coffee and I can’t go past Vietnamese coffee for that. Then you need one of these small tin gadgets known as a phin. The phin is a small metal filter which you sit directly on the top […]

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July 24, 2007
a short walk home

This small bit of video footage demonstrates the walk back after lunch from Nguyen Hien com tam on Nguyen Thoung Hien St to my house. The alleys are quite narrow and very cool (temperature wise I mean). I apologise in advance for the slightly stomach churning movement of my stride.  

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