Monday, February 22, 2010


Find a subject you care about and which you feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mekong Delta

We began with a two hour bumpy van ride from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta, stopping for a round of Pho at a roadside restaurant.

With sweet, delicious Pho dripping from our beards, well not my beard, we took on the Mekong Delta: brick factory, fruit tasting, bike riding, drinking coconuts in hammocks, wild dogs, water snakes, and four funny friends. Here's a quick look at the adventures of Michael, Dan, Megan, and Karinna.

A slow ride down the Mekong River. 
Images of Apocalypse Now kept flashing through my head.

Brick Factory-
explaining the brick making process to interested and not so interested onlookers.

 Brick Factory, more interesting than it sounds.

I missed the water snake siting, but there was jungle life all around.
 Crazy couple ready for new adventures
Riding down the Mekong Roads

Lunch! Thank you Mr. Elephant Ear Fish. 
 Local, smelly market in the Mekong Delta. All kinds of dried fish for your pleasures.

The beautiful faces of friends, Dan and Megan.

BananaGram Masters

Dan and Megan were awesome house guests and crafty wordsmiths this past week of Tet. Together we sailed the Mekong Delta, trekked through flower gardens and romped around Saigon. We didn't make it to Bangkok due to a passport debacle, but fun was had by all. We will miss you, friends.

Aren't they cute?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Buddha

A well fed Buddha in the Mekong Delta.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Laos Film

Click on the link below to check out Michael's short film of our trip to Luang Prabang, Laos. So many beautiful colors!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới 2010

On Saturday afternoon, I heard a knock at my door. I opened the door and was handed a large basket of edible goodies and drinks. Who was the delivery from? Our apartment owners, of course. Awesome! Tet has arrived.

This year, Tet, Chinese New Year, falls on Sunday, February 14th. In preparation for Tet, the Vietnamese community is busy cleaning, buying flowers, preparing food, and stuffing packages of lucky money for the annual celebration, the most important holiday of the year. When I arrived in Viet Nam, Tet was explained as birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving (any Western holiday) all rolled into one. This explanation was not meant to diminish the significance of the holiday by comparison, but it's easier for Westerners to understand if explained this way. In other words, it's one big event.

There are traditions for the day before Tet, Tet, and the days following Tet, but my favorite tradition (explained to me today) is the tradition of exiting and entering one's house. According to my students, the luckiest person, the oldest person, or the person who is connected closely with the year of the Tiger is to exit and enter the house (exiting before midnight and entering after midnight). The tradition is centered on luck: wealth, family, business, education, etc. The first person to enter the house will bring luck for the rest of the New year. Dan, Megan, Michael, Karinna...Who is the luckiest of us all?

This is a great site about the traditions, foods, and folklore of Tet.

TO DO: Get a Motorbike

December and January are beautiful in Ho Chi Minh City. On the best day the air is clean, the sky clear, there's a cool breeze, and I am wearing a light sweater. Now, it is February and the heat is back.

Right Now
Partly Cloudy
88° F
Feels Like: 91° F
Wind: From E at 12mph 

It's difficult to do more than one thing at a time in this weather. On Saturday, I walked from my apartment to eat some Pho, then to the store, then back to the apartment to prepare a meal and read. What sounds like a low-key, lazy day for most, is a back-breaking, sweat-stained, one foot in front of the other event for me. Walking more than five blocks is out of the question! Solution? A motorbike. Everyone's doing it, and quite frankly, I should too. 
Insert picture of ME

Now, at the top of my To Do list is "Buy a Motorbike," but I think I might rent one first just to make sure it's a good fit. My goal: helmet, motorbike, and license by the end of March. I'll do it! Just you wait and see.