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.

atpearl

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.
buddha.jpg
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.
phuketsunset.jpg

NEVER too much Thai food

I have eaten Thai food every day since I’ve been in Phuket. Here’s a picture of a seafood salad. Prawns, fish, tomatoes and onions dressed with ample amounts of lime juice, fish sauce, chili, kaffir lime leaf and cilantro.
phuketsalad.jpg
When I’m back in Tokyo I will post my collection of Thai recipes.

Organized chaos

I would have expected the country that invested just-in-time manufacturing and touts efficiency at every turn to be, well, a bit more organized than the chaos I encounter almost daily in Tokyo. Just one example is the horrific commute to and from Narita airport. For the 9:45 am flight to Phuket, I left my apartment at 6:30 am, took a $20 taxi to Tokyo station for the $30 Narita “Express” train, an hour ride to the airport. The train could make it in 20 minutes, but that would result in too much competition for the “Limo” Bus to the airport. At the airport I then encounter 3 massive escalators up to the departure gates, where I took my flight voucher to one counter to pick up the ticket, then went to another counter to check in, then waited in line to pass through passport control (which always seems stricter than the passport control into Japan). After the monorail to the gate, I finally got to board the plane. Whew!

kittybuns

Gift package Hello Kitty buns at Narita Airport:

To Phuket

In just moments I am leaving for Phuket, Thailand and will try to post while I am away. For any contemplating a trip there, Phuket is fantastic place with beautiful beaches, great food, and $7 massages on the beach.

For those of you with an unlimited budget surely you would stay at the Amanpuri.
Known as the “poor man’s” Aman, the Chedi is the next best choice.

For slightly tighter budgets, the Marina Phuket is a lovely option.

All have individual cottages in a jungle setting.

Snow, It’s Your Responsibility

One of the things I really like about Tokyo is the weather, especially in Fall. Just a few days ago it was 60 degree, but today we had our first snow of the season.

Positively the most risk adverse people, the Japanese constant announce warnings to be careful, watch your steps, and don’t forget your belongings.

Due to the snow, this warning was emailed to a friend of mine at work:

To all,
According to the snoefall, a staff who has a possibility of being damaged on the means of transportation on your return route, report to your boss. It’s your responsibility.

mtfuji