Saturday, May 31, 2008

MayC's transit in HCM

A rare opportunity, that MayC was passing thru the city on transit, and had enough time to go for lunch and walkabout in the city.

This will be like a preview for her, prior to the group's trip, if it materializes. Then again, the preview pretty sums up the places to go.... all in 3 hours, hahahaha.....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The rain in HCM

Pardon the grainy pics. This is the best my XDA mini could do with the 1.3 Megapixel camera.

I was trying to potray the sudden shower that flooded half the road. In reality, the rains' real heavy. So heavy that every motorcyclists were trying to shield their face from the painful impact of the raindrops.

So heavy, that I see people with wet clothes clinging to their body, underneath the poncho that they wore.

And so I rode, in my jacket and pants coat. Which did a wonderful job in keeping me dry. Which, effectively kept every part of me dry, except my socks!

Now what can I use to keep my socks dry?.... Hmmm....

Child's question

Is Burger King married to Dairy Queen?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hotpot and Fried Fish

Jasmine hit the jackpot. And she deserved it too, after the many months of draught and uncompensed efforts. True to her promise, everyone's treated to a meal, courtesy of her achievement.

This is where the shop's located. Right at the junction.

Jasmine's the lady in the middle. This is what doing sales is all about. You reap what you sow "Ut sememtem feceris ita metes".

Fried fish. There's no bones to pick on this. You eat the whole thing. It's crunchy on the outside, but the meat's not dried up inside. A little bitter round the head.

Squid salad fish sauce.

Fish cake. First I've tried in Vietnam.

These.... will get your hair standing on ends.

Com chien hai san - Seafood fried rice.

Ingredients for the hot pot. You dump everything in the pot, except the thin slices of beef. That, had to be dipped in the boiling broth, and it's cooked in 10 seconds.




I was told that 5th Grand Aunt had just undergone a stent job to widen her artery.

Gosh, that's serious stuff.

According to wikipedia, a stent is a tubular device, made of a special fabric that's supported by a rigid structure, usually metal. Hmm.... wonder if she'll set off the metal detectors at the airport?

Jokes, aside, I'm glad to hear that she's recovering well.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Sunday of misery

I allowed myself to sleep in on Sunday, having gone to bed the night before in the wee hours of Sunday morning. At 7.00am, I awoke to a warm room. A powercut, on a Sunday morning.

Ignore it, I told myself. Continued napping till 9.30am. The power came back on. Now that I'm fully rested, I went thru my usual morning motions, then dressed up and venture out for breakfast.

As usual, I had no direction of where to go. So to the roads I took, and let it lead me instead. Habit, or familiarity, took me Saigon Square. Cool, I could grab a couple of movies. It must have been a holiday season somewhere. There's more tourists than usual at the Square. The appeal of fake branded clothes and bags must have been too much to resist.

Walked a block for breakfast. It's the usual Highland Coffee chain, not that much different from Starbucks. The variety of food is lacking, but hey, it's Vietnam. Starbucks would be here if the conditions are favourable. I took my leisure at munching my American breakfast set. Oh, how I miss the roti canai, char kuey teow, bak kut teh, chee cheong fun, dim sum....

Halfway thru my runaway thoughts, I noticed a westerner enter the cafe, lugging a notebook. Intent on catching up with some work I guess. He's in a world of his own too. Sat opposite my table, he held the menu in his hand, and stared out the window. I didn't notice him placing his order (was too engrossed with my bacons and eggs). He got up. Setup his notebook with power cable, and powered up. Then he walked outside. And sat down outside to enjoy his cigarette. I noticed that he sat with his back to the notebook. It's amazing how remarkably calm and confident he was, to leave his stuff unattended like that. I would have not been able to do so.

After breakfast, I took a ride to a hairdresser. Not for a cut, nope. I've got a cropped top to last for another couple of weeks. More to passing time, I suppose. I liked this shop. They provide a nice hairwash, followed by a back massage. I even had manicure and pedicure treatment in the process, all for less than RM20. As it was only midday, there's no other customer in the premise. It was really peaceful, to the point that I dozed off.

Rain again.

The afternoon shower cooled the temperature a little, but offered small respite for only a short, short time.

I got home at 2pm. Lounged on the couch, CSI back-to-back on the telly. And hey presto! Power cut again! (grumble... grumble... grumble...)

10 minutes. Power came on again. I resumed my show. Just when I thought it's fine to relax, the door bell rang. Lady at the door spoke some gibberish, and showed me a bill for the apartment's maintenance fee. I gestured best as I could, we'll pay tomorrow at your office.

Back to the show. Doorbell rang again. The guy from the convenience store wanted to know how many water bottles did we put deposit on. Two.

Back to the show. Doorbell again. Guy from the telephone company came to collect payment for the bil. Again I gestured, we'll pay tomorrow. (I'm holding off cos I've not received the share of payment from the roomies).

And back to the show. Time passed. The show I was waiting for came on. 300. The Spartans that defended their homeland.

Sunday, the misery of the week. I had to endure two interruptions on the HBO channel, by none other than the Ho Chi Minh City Television Station Cable Company (I must share this news article). They had to advertise their Company, at the point of excitement in the show. Twice. That's it. I had enough. These idiots still have not got over the agenda of propaganda yet. They must be so insecure of their customers' loyalty, that they had to resort to slip-in advertising. What's the point of paying for cable then?

Lotteria in Vietnam

Verdict: Nowhere near the likes of McDonald's, or A&W, or Carl's Junior.

Piece of over-fried breast meat, stuffed in between the buns, off to the side.

The place had flies. What more should I say about an air-conditioned establishment with outlets all over the Country?

This is the beauty of Vietnam. Living harmoniously with the pests (except the cats and birds - those are food).

I was once asked a question "Do we have flies in Malaysia?" This question came up, because I had one hand swishing around to prevent the flies from sitting on my food, whilst I'm having lunch. I really wonder how I should answer to that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

JD's little adventure

I refer back to my post on May 19th, JD's stay at Puppy Cottage.

Apparently, during his stay, he had given the owners some headaches, thanks to his forced-celibate life and antics.

The webcam pic had shown four cameras, where Channel 1 was pointed at his temporary accommodation during the night. I did wonder why when I was viewing the webcam recordings after the midnight period, I notice a dog walking about instead of being locked up, asleep.

JD, had somehow managed to crawl thru the opening, and escaped from the confines of his comfortable little room. Stupidly, he locked himself out of his bed, and access to water and food. And he resorted to roaming about the whole night, waiting for the owners to return the next day.

And that's not all. On the second night, he did it again!
Get this, he managed to unlock the door and walk out! Goodness, where did he learn to do that???

And more to come. Channel 4 showed JD and a beagle in solitary confinement, because.....

Jeng, Jeng, Jeng.....

He was trying to hump every male AND female dog that were in the common room. Somehow, he stayed away from the beagle.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Food, as pick-me-up

I am so easily satisfied.
All it takes is a good meal, to get me happy again.

Especially now that the diarrhea is gone, the cough receded, and got back my taste buds...

The appetiser. Notice how one edge is like roasted, and yet the insides are nicely raw... yummy..

This will get me my bike after the meal. It's valet!

Being alone, I get to sit at the bar counter. Hence I get to witness the chefs at work. Too bad the countertop's built high. I love to see them make those little nigiri and temaki and rolls...

A whole shelf of japanese comics. For the regulars....

My Unagi Temaki.... favourite Japanese delicacy.

Tasmanian roll... filled with salmon and avocado slices.

Pork chop katsu don... It's the raw egg on a bowl of steamed rice. Definitely the raw egg that makes this good.

Tofu, type 1. This is the hard type, which I could pick up using my chopsticks.

Tofu, type 2. I believe it's made with eggs. Really smooth and soft.

This, me no like. Bean sprouts (I like) + Chicken heart (I no like) = I no like. Yucks.

Tadaaa... my dinner. The appetiser and handroll were finished when this came.

Now, I'm satisfied. I'm back!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Puppy Cottage @ TTDI

JD got boarded for two nights, as dad and mum went for an overseas trip, whilst Jo went north. The hotel's called Puppy Cottage, and they provide webcam access to view the residents throughout the day. Above a screenshot of JD in the common room, with another resident.
Poor guy's so forlorn. He must be wondering where we all went, and why is he there....

State of Emotional Quotient

The past weeks had been crazy. I was told, that they noticed, I seemed to have shut off. Do not care anymore?

No. I don't think that is the reason.

The state of my mind causes the EQ roller coaster. To have the time in my hands, to have to wait for results and decisions, to be bound by restrictions and limitations to what I can do; all these are causing a mind rot.

And an inactive mind, is a dead mind.

And a dead mind, equates the zombie-like state.

I gotto fly back. Perhaps I will make the early trip. Right after THIS cleanup. Ease their burdens and then I can go.

This is not a break. I don't need a break. I have enough breaks everyday in my little corner. This is like... renewal. revival. recharging.

I apologise to my readers. I know my food posts had been sporadic lately. My ailment does not allow me the luxury of food exploration.


This is a common term, an ailment that afflicts the ones with sensitive stomachs. I wouldn't classify myself in that category, and yet I've been suffering this for the past 2 weeks.

All too often, I'd be passing watery discharge despite having changed every meal to be different. Only until yesteday, having removed milk from my daily diet, did my condition improved.

Now, although the throbbing ache still persists, the stools had hardened slightly. Which brings me to my point:

Milk, is a cause of diarrhea.

Now this statement is contradictory, in particular to myself. I've had the practise of taking fresh dairy milk every morning with my coffee, and yet it was the past 2 weeks that this had been affecting me. So I'm thinking, like, you know, that milk is NOT the cause, but a trigger of diarrhea if the tummy's upset.

Which means I'll still need to get my tummy tweaked, and go without the milk until my body's back to it's pristine heatlh.

Awwww... the things I have to sacrifice in Vietnam!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Drink Mantra

Not long ago, someone sent me this little mantra...

He who drinks get drunk
He who gets drunk goes to sleep
He who goes to sleep does not sin
He who does not sin goes to Heaven
So let's all drink and go to Heaven!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here's a open question for debate:

If a job position is offered, but it is deemed a lateral move (maybe downgrade) by hierachy, should it be considered?

The points to note:
Present position not fulfilling, covert, a waste of time
Present location away from the better life
Present environment a threat to health, sanity and growth

Hypothetical, of course.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Onset of the wet moments

Scene outside the office, after a brief downpour. Almost every road's a hazard to riders. Potholes hidden beneath calm pools of water.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bike wash

The weather here had started to get wet. Almost on a daily basis. Downpour for many short pockets of time throughout the day. I've never realised the inconvenience of raincoats, until now. Everytime the rain starts, bikes pull over and don the coats.

Not the best of designs, but I've noticed that they make two-headed raincoat, for the rider and pillion. Which means, if the pillion falls off, the rider goes along. Or at least, the rider's head.

A Sunday morning bike wash facility. All you need is to bring the bike here, empty the seat hold, and take a bench provided by the side of the shop. And then you wait. Usually, peak traffic meant a 30 minutes wait. Low traffic meant 10 minutes. And the cleaning's good. A good rub, a good scrub. Even got the blow dry treatment (buggers blew away the water droplets, instead of wiping it dry). All these for VND10,000.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finding vitality...

This is it. Resorting to extreeeemeee measures (hahaha, very daring indeed!)
The traditional recipe of chicken essence, trusted by generations (thought this is the first time I'm taking it, hahahaa...)


Voracious reading

It's like an infection that refuses to let go, rooting deep into the pool of desire to pick up the books and not release until the closure is seen.

What is normally a biology-triggered mechanism, is still one. Borne out of irrational thinking and spinning compass directions. And the infection has its due side effects.

Swelling in the eyes, postural sores, silence in the head whilst the mind races with graphics after images after scenes, isolation, procrastination...

The joys of reading. 3 books in 10 days.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I'm rotting away.

The diarrhea, the sniffles, cold cough...

I sleep at 9.30pm, I wake at 6.00am, yet my eyes are swelling with black bags.
I feel weak, cold and distant.

Yes, I'm becoming the walking dead. Continue like this, and I'll qualify for the certified bite-your-arm rotting zombie category.

I need some excitement. A day, a week - it just could not whet my appetite. Not that I'm craving food. In any case, I've not had the right appetite for awhile now. This thing that I do just ain't no more fun.

Heard recently of an old schoolmate who's gone backpacking in New Zealand. I don't recall him being the adventurous sort, save for the routine Church camps. Backpacking? Wow... I've been employed, what, 8 years in a stretch? Longest break I had was 2 weeks.

Is this a sign for me to wrap up and start travelling? Doubt I'll miss much...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tsk tsk...

There she goes
On a flight headed home
Leaving me behind
Tsk... Tsk...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Goody @ Hai Ba Trung St

Beijing 2008, how's this for a warm up?

Cheap beer

Believe it or not, this was seen at a supermarket in the upmarket shopping centre of Parkson in Saigon.

24 cans of Carlsberg selling at approximately RM32.00, compared to RM98.00 back home. No wonder everyone's drinking Heineken here. I saw the expiry is sometime in June this year.


Wrap & Roll @ Hai Ba Trung St

This was one place I had heard of before coming to Vietnam, yet only set foot 4 months later. Having promised Lindy to get her the rice paper spring roll, un-steamed, un-fried, I figured I couldn't go wrong here. Yeap, definitely would not go wrong.

Yummy! Shrimp wrapped in rice paper, filled with noodle, basil. coriander, parsley, mint and dipped in fish sauce. Now, if only I can find a home-made variant.

Steamed rice paper filled with shrimp

A paste-like sauce, akin to the Malaysian rojak. Suspected to contain shrimp paste.

Crab meat wrapped around sugar canes, grilled to perfection

The various filling that goes with the grilled crab meat

Grilled cuttle fish

Fried rice, with dried shrimps and slices of ham

Trying to produce a decent spring roll....

My first attempt

Second attempt

Oh, forgot to mention that the grilled cuttlefish had a stalk of spring onion drillled along its spine

My third attempt

Che Ba Ba (I think it's the Malaysian bubur cha cha)