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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Vietnam, Hair Today

The man who held the record for Vietnam's longest hair, and possibly the longest hair in the world, died of natural causes in the Mekong Delta earlier this week. He was 79.

Tran Van Hay stopped cutting his hair after several post barber incidents when haircuts were followed by bouts of illness.

Full story here but also widely reported in the world's press.

It got me wondering what other stories made the international press in the same day, not much really:

Vietnam's first death from avian flu this year New Straits Times

An article on the proposed increase in Vietnamese steel prices
in Commodity Online News and a report on Jetstar in Vietnam in the Sidney Morning Herald

The last story to get wide reporting was The Man Who Sleeps With His Wife's Corpse

One Big News story, widely reported and commented on, was the Facebook Troubles, we've still got the troubles but the coverage has gone. Clearly Vietnam is still firmly in the odd and quirky category of international news, either that, or very little ever happens.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Saigon Spawning Season

Back in August I posted a picture of a strange roof creature. A fish shaped air ventilator.

Shiny fish chimney granny

And this week I took a picture of the same roofscape, they're multiplying.

Growing population of roof fish

I'd quite like a shoal of fish on my roof too but our landlord hasn't suggested one yet.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dancing dragons in the suburbs

As I've mentioned before we live in a pretty quiet part of town, our area is "up and coming" which mostly means there's a lot of building going on but on the 15th of February we had a bit of excitement. The dragons and lions arrived to bring luck to a new house.

Here's my first glimpse of them:

Arrival of the Dragon Dancers

As for the rest of the pictures I'll let them speak for themselves, I'm not informed enough to explain exacly what was going on, suffice to say it was like a mixture of the circus and a dance troupe had landed in our otherwise quiet part of the world.

Red Lion

Over the back of the Dragon

Local children join the drumming at the Dragon Dance

Leaping performer at Dragon Dance

Feats of strength and speed during Dragon Dance

Smashing bricks on head, Dragon Dance HCMC

Pole leaping lion

Presenting the red banner

Reaching out for the greenery

Grabbing the banner

The lion swings the banner

It took about an hour and a half to complete all the activities then they jumped onto their bus, truck and bikes and headed off leaving the street quiet and deserted again. Until the Karaoke started.

Tet Celebrations, Saigon's Year of the Tiger

When I'm in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet I always make a point of going up to Nguyen Hue to take pictures on the first day of Lunar New Year. This year was the busiest yet as the traffic bears testament to.

Traffic on the day of Tet

The rest of town was incredibly quiet. Here are some pictures of what everyone wanted to take pictures of:

Tigers of course.
Entrance to Nguyen Hue Floral Display

Large and impressive tigers at the entrance to the floral display.

Debonair Tet Tiger, Saigon

Well hell-lo! A debonair tiger with a touch of the Lesley Phillips about it.

Traditional Tet Tiger Saigon

A more traditional Vietnamese tiger.

Tet Tiger with a touch of Disney

And a Disneyesque tiger to complete the set.

At Tet everyone's a photographer.
Tetographers, Year of the Tiger, Vietnam

There are flowers, tigers of course, calligraphers and family members to be captured.

Giant flowers made of flowers, Tet HCMC

Floral Display at Nguyen Hue, HCMC

Vietnamese Calligrapher, Tet 2010

Winner of the Cute Children at Tet competition

And when all that pales there's always practicing walking in your new shoes.

New Shoes for Tet, HCMC

Or talking your tiger for a walk through the streets of Saigon.

Tet Year of the Tiger Balloon, Vietnam

Chúc mừng năm mới.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hello Tuk Tuks

Since Tuk Tuks, rather than taxis, are the main form of privately operated public transport in Siem Reap it makes sense to differentiate your vehicle. That way you're memorable, eye catching and easily spotted. One or two differentiated themselves so well I felt the need to share.

First the Red Bull Tuk Tuk or Bad Bull to further distinguish it. It's also advertised as a Luxury Vehicle, which indeed it is, it has a cooler on the back full of what? Red Bull for the hangover or Beer to create it maybe. Either way I suspect the market segment for this one is most likely to be Brit Boys Abroad.
Red bull themed Tuk Tuk

Here's a closer look at how "bad" this bull is complete with a warning not to "do it two time a day"
Luxury Tuk Tuk
It could be two bulls "doing it" or one and a very muscular cow.

For the movie going public and families with small bored children there's the Batman Tuk Tuk

Batman Tuk Tuk, Siem Reap

I like the attention to detail on the Batmobile, even the helmet and motorbike are branded.

Batman Tuk Tuk side view, Siem reap

Finally, for the Korean and Japanese tourist girls what could be more perfect than this?

Hello Kitty Tuk Tuk

For the Hell0 Kitty obsessives out there, and I know you come here regularly looking at other Helly Kitty S#!% I've found and posted, here's another picture with more pink details.

Hello Tuk Tuk

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Siem Reap, 2010

I'm just back from a visit to the Temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I'm officially all templed out. We took Tuk Tuks for bum numbing periods and saw sunsets and sunrises and all the hours in between, did the Small Tour, the Grand Tour and the Back-of-bloody-beyond tour. Climbed over, under and through things and got sore knees from that and sore shoulders and necks from the cameras and other "necessities" we carried with us.

It's going to be quite a job to pick through the hundreds of pictures taken, there're bound to be a few decent ones between them, but in the meantime, here's a few:

Me Bon, Angkor Wat elephant

One of the large stone elephants at Mebon

Me Bon, Angkor Wat stone balancing

Also at Mebon, stone balancing seems to be all the rage.

Detailed carving, Angkor Wat grand tour

Intricate carving seen at a temple the name of which temporarily slips my mind - I'll need to look it up

Bayon entrance, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

The south entrance to Bayon at sunrise

Brushmakers, Angkor Wat, Bayone, South Gate

The same entrance with local brushmakers heading out to work

A yellow flower for Tet at Angkor Wat greater complex

A yellow flower in honour of Tet, I'll be out taking pictures of the Tet floral displays tomorrow so expect lots more yellow.

The man took pictures this time too, apparently it's marginally less boring than just waiting for me to take them, and so his first real contribution to this blog might appear very soon.