10 days in Vietnam…

…by the numbers:
motorcycle rides offered: 583
motorcycle rides taken: 0
cyclo rides offered: 58
cyclo rides taken: 1
fender-benders observed: 6
fender-benders observed leading to a fist fight: 1
taxis taken only simply to avoid the hazard of crossing the street: 15
hawkers selling books: 23
books bought: 0
maximum % discount haggled for on souvenirs: 40%
rolls of film taken: 3
children begging for food whilst munching on pickles: 1
begging children munching on pickles given money: 0
handicap/mine victims begging: 4
handicap/mine victims given money: 4
meals eaten in restaurants that can only be referred to “cockroach cafes”: 2
meals eaten in restaurants where the bill amounted to more than the average Vietnamese earns in a month: 3
bowls of pho eaten: 12
cheapest bowl of pho eaten: 12,000 dong (~$.75)
most expensive bowl of pho eaten: 18,000 dong (~$1.15)

Pho coma

I am currently in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam writing this with the biggest Pho-induced food coma. Pho is the Vietnamese signature disk, beef broth and rice noodles garnished with fresh herbs. It’s delicious. I am on a quest to find the best Pho in HCMC. I kind of planned this trip last minute and am staying with a old friend from Tokyo who lives here now. This is my second trip here and in the last two years the city has changed tremendously, cleaned up, new construction, etc.

My first few days have been surreal. The smells, the noise, the traffic, just crossing the street involves a great deal of blind faith. The traffic is mostly scooters with a few cabs, bicycles, and cyclos. Waiting for a slight break in traffic and then darting is sure suicide. And, the traffic lights, when they do exist, are even more dangerous as they give you a false sense of security (they are rarely heeded). The trick is to just go walking slowly, deliberately, and at a constant pace; the traffic will swerve to accommodate you.
Next I am off to Laos for a few days.

New York photos

Out for dinner with my mom, dad, and godfather, Bob, in the back. Check out the size of my mother’s Cosmopolitan, made with Stoli Orange, of course.

More pictures of my trip are here including some of the Prada store in Soho and lots of shoes.


Antique buddha

Antique Buddhas on sale at The Palace of Art shop. Thai Buddha are illegal to export without special permission therefore many are instead from Myanmar and Cambodia.
Today is my last day in Thailand. I’ll post again when back in Tokyo.

No taxi no sexy

Every time I walk out the front of my hotel the taxi drivers lined up outside yell: Taxi where you go! Even when I was on a scooter some guy asked me if I needed a taxi.
Yesterday I came out and again the yells of taxi. Again I answer no, but this time he yells back no taxi then you no sexy. Now every time he sees me he just yells no taxi no sexy and we laugh. Finally last night I did take a taxi and he tells me now you sexy. We haggled on price: 10 baht got laughter, he didn�t remember the way for 50 baht. We agreed on 100 baht (just over $2).
Sunset view from dinner at the Boathouse.