now tweeting


Thursday, 31 December 2009

Fast Food Saigon Style

Sure, the streets are full of vendors selling all manner of tasty Vietnamese treats but the fast food chains are making steady inroads too.

Fast food Saigon, Kentucky Fried Ga

KFC franchises are probably the most numerous.

Fast food Saigon, Jollibee

Jollibee, the Philippines contender for the burger crown is well established. At least their happy bee mascot isn't as creepy as the clown used by McDonald's.

Fast food Saigon, Illy cafe

At the higher end of the market Illy cafes have sprung up jostling with Gloria Jeans, Highlands Coffee and, more recently, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to capture cafe high society.

I wonder if we'll ever get a Greggs ?

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

French Architecture, Central Saigon

I think this is the Party Headquarters in District 1. I know I've never been able to take pictures of it before because there are always armed guards outside looking sternly at me but I managed to grab this image from a taxi.

French architecture, Saigon

I love the slightly debauched and louche face surrounded by hair and roses and I'll have to try to take more stealth snaps of the building in future.

Home made designer chic

Fashion, grooming, style and labels are very important in Vietnam and the high end labels do good business. However once you hit the streets originality is more evident than originals.
Kind of Calvin Klein belt

I'm guessing this is not part of the official collection.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Dalat Christmas Break

A four night trip to Dalat for Christmas in the well posh Sofitel Dalat Palace was a nice break from Saigon. Vietnamese people tell me it's very romantic, certainly unheated rooms do encourage cuddling up, but I enjoy it for the cool air during the day and the kitschness.

First, here's a picture of the cool air:
Dalat, from Sofitel Dalat Palace

And now some of the kitsch:

The Dalat wine Christmas tree

Dalat makes a wine, and from the bottles they have also made a Christmas tree which will also double as a general purpose tree for the upcoming flower festival.

One of the "romantic" attractions of Dalat is to take a swan pedalo onto the lake.

Swan boats on the lake in Dalat

You can take your swan for a tour past the potato crisp heart:

The potato crisp heart

Or gaze at the Dalat Eiffel Tower courtesy of the Post Office:

Eiffel tower dalat style

Pony rides are popular, so is taking pictures of people taking pony rides. Look carefully (you might want to click on the picture for the full size on flickr) you should be able to see the best combination of hats in any one picture ever.

Christmas scene, Dalat

A stetson, a non la or cone hat, a sun hat complete with face protector if the hat doesn't provide enough coverage and, being Christmas, a santa hat. There's also a hat on the guy on the pony that I don't know the name for.

Merry Christmas

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mumtaz Indian Restaurant, Saigon

Mumtaz, HCMC
In the interest of fairness I'm posting Mumtaz Indian Restuarant,226 Bui Vien - in the backpacker area.

Me and the man fight over whether this or Ganesh is the best in town and truly there's not much to choose between the food. Ganesh has airconditioning and is a bit spiffier, Mumtaz is friendlier. Both serve very good Northern and Southern Indian food, a great line in vegetarian dishes and for me, crucially, Mumtaz delivers within half an hour.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Saigon acrobats

The recent Loreto Fest went all out to create a carnival atmosphere complete with acrobats and slightly creepy isnie-disney costumes.
Loreto fest, actual acrobats

While the acrobats were impressive, as is so often the case in Vietnam, it was the unexpected that really caught my eye.
Balancing act Loreto Fest Saigon
Another shot of the real acrobats

Lighting rig, loreto fest with acrobatic worker
Accidental acrobat
The lighting rig needed adjusted. Ladders? Harness? Hard hat? Clear the people underneath? Why on earth would you do that?
Lighting rig acrobat
I would lay money on the power still being live too. Still, at least he isn't wearing flip flops.