Oct 242009
 
The Waterworld People of Halong Bay

“LOOK!” cried our new German buddy, Sebastian, pointing to the horizon, “It’s a boat supermarket!” Sure enough, a few yards away from our small Halong Bay tourboat rowed a woman waist-deep in bottled water, fruit, candy, and soap! Her face was completely wrapped except for the eyes, as so many women in Asian countries do to combat the sun’s darkening effects. She waved furiously at us, rowing closer and [...Read More!]

Oct 242009
 
Halong Bay is Nuts

Insane, magical, breathtaking, nuts, bonkers, gorgeous– Halong Bay, Vietnam is all these things and then some.

This stunning spot is about three hours from Hanoi, and is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Vietnam. Take a one, two, or three-day boat trip through the sapphire waters between the two thousand limestone tower-islands and feel that magic “OHHH!” as the caws and shrieks of monkeys and birds echo from [...Read More!]

Oct 212009
 
Vietnam Price Scams, Analyzed

“I can’t believe it!” gasped David. “That little old street corner soup woman just scammed me!” The little old lady cackled and pocketed the 80,000 Dong she had charged for our two bowls of normally 20,000 Dong ($1) noodles and beef. “Now I’ve learned my lesson to ask the price before I eat the food!” David exclaimed. “You can blame my tourist face,” I said sympathetically, having gotten [...Read More!]

Oct 212009
 
A Rickshaw Through Old Hue!

This photo, left, of three grizzled rickshaw drivers posing jauntily for the camera in Hue, Vietnam, may be my favorite pic of the month!

My friend, David, had heard that Hue is particularly stunning at night by rickshaw, so we piled upon the rickety shaw and were arduously peddled by a wheezing old man for miles upon miles through the old Emperor’s stomping grounds.

This is particularly hilarious given that both David and [...Read More!]

Oct 212009
 
Ain't No Convenience Store Chains in Vietnam!

Here is a stark difference between Thailand and Vietnam: The Convenience Store Scene. In Thailand, every two hops you take you will smash against a 7-Eleven. Multinational colonization is pulsing strong in Thailand!

On the positive side of this situation, globalization allows any tourist to satisfy her Big Gulp craving from the top to the bottom of Thailand.

Unfortunately, however, this multinational dominance also meant that most of my Thai temple [...Read More!]

Oct 192009
 
Hoi An Fashion Euphoria

Fashion-obsessed folks: keep a napkin poised by your mouth to wipe the drool this article will induce.

Hoi An, Vietnam has been in the news recently for being under four feet of rainwater from a typhoon. Shell-shocked tourists recalled the five days they spent, trapped on the highest floor of their hotels, endlessly playing cards and slurping instant noodles.

Normally, however, Hoi An is famous for a more colorful, delightful reason: custom-made [...Read More!]

Oct 182009
 
Adoration of African American Culture Abroad

“Danny,” I typed to my former student via Facebook Chat, “They’re playing Chris Brown in this restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand!”

“On dogs??” Danny asked, aghast, from his apartment in Boston.

“On dogs,” I affirmed.

Throughout the two months so far of my year-long journey across the world, I have been stunned at the level of awe and adoration that people have for African-American culture. In the African-American music realm, Japanese twenty-somethings sport Tupac [...Read More!]

Oct 182009
 
12 Hours on a Sleeping Bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An!

“Be prepared for a long journey,” warns the Lonely Planet guidebook, “As the twelve-hour bus ride between Nha Trang and Hoi An is typically described as “prison” or “hell”.”

Look at these photos of the “sleeping bus”… It’s like you’ve tragically stumbled into a seething warren of dentist chairs from the 70s, ready to attack you!

There is a toilet, but it is locked and chained with a sign that reads, “Not to [...Read More!]

Oct 172009
 
Nha Trang’s Fantastic $6 Boat Escapade

Nha Trang is rightly considered the biggest beach destination of Vietnam. Miles of sandy beaches, soothingly warm ocean waves, a huge range of hotels and restaurants for any budget… Nha Trang is a good time. To enhance your experience here, any traveler will tell you: take the six dollar all-day boat trip. Let’s hop aboard and see all the goodies this escapade entails!

1. The boat trip may be [...Read More!]

Oct 172009
 
Magic Bridges

Vietnam has, in many ways, kicked my butt. It has also, incidentally, grabbed my butt. Despite all the stresses of traveling in this country, though, I declare that Vietnam is my favorite country that I have been in so far this trip. Why? Because it has BACKBONE. It is pulsingly alive with its own culture and with a fire to keep on rising.

Now, praise be to [...Read More!]