Saturday, December 19, 2009

Me and the Little Bee

Hoi An is little more than Chinese temples and tailor shops. We visited this shop 2 years ago, and as soon as I walked up Bee recognized me, gave me a big hug and asked where Abby was.
Everybody who has been to Hoi An has had clothes made and has their favourite shop. Cloth Shop Nguyen located inside the main tailor market at stall No 1A, is by far my fave. I had other clothes made in other places and none were of the quality that I found here.
The stalls are named and numbered, but all you have to do is look for the shortest girl in the place and you will have found Bee. Her name fits her perfectly because she is always busy and fliting about, finding cloth and helping her many customers.

Viet Pick Up Truck

In Vietnam motor-scooters are used as SUVs, minivans and as pick up trucks.
This is not an uncommon site, in Vietnam, or any where in Asia really.

Hoi An Fresh Beer - Self Portrait

Me drinking "fresh beer" at a river front restaurant in Hoi An, Vietnam. It is blazing hot and quite humid in Hoi An; the fresh beer quite refreshing, and cheaper than water.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Celebrating Football Victory Over Singapore - SEA Games

At home if any country wins any major soccer game, whole areas of the city comes to a standstill. Especially if one of those teams is Italy, Portugal or Brazil. For every round of the Euro or World cups cars drive through the city, flying the winning nation's flag and honking their car horns.
I was in Hoi An a smallish city in southern Vietnam when the national team beat out Singapore in the semi finals the locals went crazy. It was almost like home, except everyone was on motor-scooters.
The final game is tonight versus Malaysia. If they win, I can only imagine that Hanoi will erupt into total pandemonium.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm a walkin' talkin' stereotype.

I ate a few doors down from this BBQ joint. I think I know what this is, but am not totally sure.
I mean we've all heard the urban myth about the teacher on a year long contract who came to Vietnam. She went to what she thought was a pet shop and picked out the cutest puppy she saw there. She handed over the money for her new pet, they picked up the dog, broke it's neck and took it around back to clean for cooking.
I left the image as large as possible so you can be the judge as to what kind of animal this is.

Hoan Kiem - Hanoi

Hoan Kiem is a large lake in the middle of Hanoi's old quarter. In the middle is a Chinese style bridge that takes you to a temple.

Hoan Kiem by day
under Hanoi's perpetually gray sky.

Hoan Kiem by night,
seen from the 2nd floor of a Western coffee shop.

Chiang Mai Graff

Graff is rare in Chiang Mai, other than crappy tags, so here is a few decent things I found.

Chang - The animal not the beer

This elephant gets walked around one of busy non-tourist restaurant strip. For 20B you buy a bag of sugar cane and feed the poor beast. This is the closest I have ever been to an elephant. It's nose is all snotty. I gave him I nice rub on the cheek when I was done, and he gave me a little trumpet.

Gayest. Pants. Ever!

This is why (amongst other reasons) I now call myself a flashpacker and not a backpacker. It is almost as if he wants people to laugh in his face. I mean I did!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Capable Minority

At least in Hong Kong they allow minorities to run business and acknowledge that they are capable people. Much better solution than sectioning them off into ghettos or jails, condemning to the drug trade or landscaping jobs.

Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street - Pt 2

I posted a video a while back of the traffic in Hanoi. It really must be seen to be believed.
Shops set out little stools where you can sit on the side walk and drink your morning tea or coffee and have a smoke. In fact the sidewalks are little used for actual walking, but rather are used as large motorbike parking lot/cafe.
I filmed this video over my morning coffee (the thick black Vietnamese Style drip coffee) and last Kratak (Indonesian clove cigarette...the two btw are a match made in heaven...if you discount the 10x tar level)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Koh Samui - Mui Bungalows

I hate Koh Samui, hated it 8 years ago and hate it even more now. It is Khao San meets Pattaya (without the pedophilia, just prostitution); basically the only things I hate about Thailand.
That said we found this little piece of paradise on Baan Lamai Beach, called Mui Bungalows and it became the only reason to stay. We hit just before high season so we got a hut away from the beach with A/C, Sat TV and a fridge for 400 B. The night food market was nice too, but everything else sucked, especially the tailors constantly bothering you walking down the street.
A hint to those thinking about having clothes made in Samui. Don't! The quality is shit, and overpriced. Wait for Chiang Mai and do your research. Or better still Vietnam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prevent Diseased Rodent Nuisances

These signs appear in Hong Kong alley ways. Often these alleyways hide wonderful little noodle stalls, however I had difficulty finding any. The government has recently started a "Clean Up Hong Kong" campaign and it seems many of these noodle stalls were victims of the purge. That said it is also the lead up to the South East Asia Games which are scheduled for the 2nd week of December, so they will likely reappear after the games are over, which is when I will be back through HKG.

Sea Goddess Temple - Kowloon HKG

Sea Goddess Temple Gates
Kowloon Island - Hong Kong

These are the gates to the Sea Goddess temple in Hong Kong. I always pop into temples to the Sea Goddess after my first trip to Georgetown Malaysia.
For a long time now I have planned on getting a large world map based loosely on Lui Gang's 1418 world map. These temples are rich with references for this huge undertaking. The idea is that I would roughly sketch out the whole map, then fill in areas as I visit them.
While the temples in Hong Kong are very much more alive than those in Georgetown, they will not allow photos to be taken of the interiors. Many white tourists seem to totally ignore the signs warning against photos, I think these people are big douche bags, and are why many Asians hate white tourists. That and the whole colonial oppression and introduction to opium addiction thing.

Sea Dragon Relief Detail

Popeye the Cockeyed Sailor Man --Toot Toot!

I think this speaks for itself!