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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who buys this stuff?

I have no idea who buys this stuff.  I know picking up a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes is not on my list of things to do today.

I have never seen anyone in there...or Versace...or Armani...I don't know how they survive.  I'm too scared to even go in and have a look!

Nice shoes though ;)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vincom is Scary!

They have recently updated the crazy kids play area at Vincom.  There is a special area for the younger kids and I have to say, maybe it's just me, but if I was a kid I'd be freaking out!
What the.....

I think it is from Little Red Riding Hood but she is freaking ME out!

They look like they a petrified on their way to the slaughterhouse. 

Um.....this sounds awful but....blow up doll?

This thing is HUGE. And scary.

Angry man.

Freaky horse eye!

Again with the sexy thing.

Melting face.

The best of a bad bunch.  Good on you Popeye for keeping it real.  You still kinda look like you are going to hit me though.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hotel Majestic- A journey through time.

Built in 1925, the Hotel Majestic is no doubt an iconic image of Saigon.  It is located at number 1 Dong Khoi St, formerly rue Catinat.  After 1975 it was renamed Mekong Hotel (Khách Sạn Cửu Long) and became a Government guest house. Having changed its name back again it is now owned by the state-owned Saigon Tourist.  I believe a 1.9 trillion VND expansion was announced mid last year to construct two towers of 24 and 27 storeys within 3 years.  I guess I will have to add another picture then of her ever changing face. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More to breakfast in Vietnam than Pho.

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Pho and eat it just about every day.  In fact, it's healing properties for a monster hangover are legendary.  There is however, more to breakfast in Vietnam than its famous noodle dish.  Every Saturday, Scarlett has a swimming lesson.  AT 8.00AM!  I know.  So, whoever draws the short straw has to get up early and grab a taxi, child in tow, to the lesson.  Now the bright side to this is, you get to enjoy a breakfast in total blissful solitude.  Parents are not permitted to stay in the class so you have one whole hour to knock yourself out and stuff yourself silly with breakfast. (You also get to use the iPad for a change).  There are not an abundance of choices as it is in a fairly quiet part of District 3.  Nick has his own choices but I have found one that I am happy with.

So this is my choice of Saigon breakfast.  There are of course lots of noodles and rice dishes on the brecky menu as well, but this suits me fine.  Upon sitting down you are given the obligatory wet napkin that is used to wipe the crust of Saigon off you before you eat (top left).  You are then given a glass of iced tea, complimentary, to quench the thirst that is no doubt nearly killing you (next to the napkin).  Did I mention how hot it is here at the's Oh My God hot! But I digress. My usual order consists of an omelette with onion and coriander, an orange juice with honey and fresh ginger (not pictured) and a Cafe Sua Da.  I am sure just as everyone has their own methods for eating Pho, people prepare this dish in their own way.  Personally, I put some of the fresh chilli into the soy for a minute or two to spice it up.  I then take it out because I find leaving it in make it too hot.  I then pour the soy over the omelette.  Next I take some of the salt and pepper mix and put a generous helping onto the omelette.  By then the coffee, pictured filtering into the cup top centre, has finished filtering.  You take the little silver filter off and peer into the cup full of beautiful strong coffee.  But wait, there is a little surprise in the bottom of the cup that you cannot see.  A layer of delicious creamy condensed milk!  So then you pour the mixture into the glass of ice and give it a stir.  Viola!  A very traditional Cafe Sua Da, Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I then scoff the omelette down and mop up the gooey soy residue with the fresh crusty baguette.  My mum is not here so I don't have to eat the salad.  So there you have it.  My Saturday morning breakfast that is almost worth getting up early for.  All of this including the juice costs me about $7.  Expensive when you can get a bowl of Pho for a couple of bucks...but how many little red stools do you know have WiFi?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today I went to the market and I saw....

Grandfather preparing the tools.

Granddaughter selecting the purchase.

Preparing the fruit.

Dad was cooking something (i'm not sure what) over the coals.

Mum was having a rest.

Daughter continues with remarkable skill, to prepare the fruit.

Dad put the kettle on.

Mum repositions the fan...nice work!

Voila....a piece of edible art!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One of the millions of reasons I love this place.

Received this via email today.  What else does a woman need on this most auspicious of days, International Womens Day, but 10% off a Pap Smear?  I love you Vietnam!  You crack me up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And you thought you knew where babies came from....

.....and it's not the cabbage patch.

It's the vegetable cart apparently.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kids and Markets

Yesterday was shopping day and as Nick was away I took both of the kids down to my local street market to pick up some supplies for the week.  You may recall last week I took Scarlett down and chaos ensued.  You can only imagine when I had the two of them!
Luckily they are great kids and really look out for each other.  It can get a bit hairy with bikes whizzing up the narrow road and we all hold on to each other for dear life normally.

I have no idea what these are so if anyone does can you let me know?  It is a bit hard to tell from this picture but they look like little watermelons but are about the size of an apricot.

You know I sometimes wonder what they think about all of this.  It is dependant on their mood as to how they deal with local interaction.  I quite often have to reinforce to them that the locals are not laughing at them, just that they are happy to see them.  A hard concept for kids to grasp.  I often have to remind myself that they are just 4 and 7.  A lot of this is counteracted by the plethora of free stuff that is shoved at them!  They love that bit!  Having said that, they have been taught to say "thank you" for what they receive in Vietnamese and this usually results in more gales of laughter.  Back to the drawing board of "they are not laughing at you...they just think you are wonderful!"  Unfortunately I have found this makes them quite hesitant to speak Vietnamese. I can't say I blame them in this regard.  It can be hard if you are not sure if someone is taking the mickey out of you.

One thing we have taught them that seems to have sunk in is that if someone wants to touch them, which they quite often do, then they can say no if they do not want them to.  The  kids are often a novelty here and can almost be seen as a good luck charm.  It's great to be able to empower them with this when living amongst a different culture.  I can imagine that sometimes it must be a bit overwhelming for them.  I have found that small doses of exposure works best for us. A few hours out exploring then back to the safety of our little piece of Australia at home.   Only time will tell how much our years here have influenced their lives.  Will they remember it?  I hope so....I have taken enough pictures for them to have some flashbacks and one of the reasons I do this blog is to pretty much document the story of our adventures. There is always a degree of guilt as a parent when you take you children away from the familiar.  Sure, we love it...but what about them?  Well...for us, so far so good.  I think underneath my biggest fear is that we have instilled in them the joy of travel and exploring the world which inevitably means one day I will be a blubbering mess at the airport as I wave them goodbye as they pursue their own dreams.  Life abroad is truly a double edged sword.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

60's Fashion Saigon Style

I LOVE these photos of the classy ladies of Saigon from what I am assuming is about the late 60's?  We've all see photos of our mums with the big hair and eyeliner (or perhaps it was YOU dressing to impress) but I have never considered how it would translate overseas. I should have known that the fashion conscious young Vietnamese women of today had fashion conscious mums.