pure joy


I sometimes carry garlic around with me. Its part of a promise I made. Some people, such as Andrew and Patricia, find this amusing. If I happen to smell funny, it might be the garlic.

Yes, my garlic does come in its own velvet case.

Andrew thinks it might make a good necklace.

Patricia laughing her @ss off.

Me, just interested in the food being served at Idecaf. The shrimp, avacado salad really hits the spot.


Went to an opening the other night. I liked some of the individual pieces and appreciated the connections the artist, Bertrand Peret, is trying to make.

There were tons of people milling about Galerie Quynh that night. Some of the suspects are below.

Julie & Justin, owners of the Sugar Street Cafe

Tsering and Will, very chill guys who enjoy their cloves.

The crowd outside.

ebb & flow

Life in the city. A snapshot of my street. Click on image for larger pict.

Where I go to get away. Enjoying the solitude of an open terrace under the night sky.

a send-off

He left for the States this morning.

Last night, went to a cafe that had a 360 view of the city.

We climbed like 7 flights of stairs. Words of encouragement along the way.

Then went and had some fish congee, chao ca, on Vo Van Tan. Good stuff.

Wishing him a safe flight.


Started teaching the University students this week. All I can say is that its been interesting. I've even had a class where there was only one student because we both didn't get the new class schedule. My class time had changed and my e-mail has been slow. Poor kid was probably bored to death. I ended up teaching the class twice yesturday.

The second time around, I had a whole group of boys that weren't even signed up to be in my section. There are two sections being taught and they said that they had missed the first one. Anyways, they turned out to be very active participants, amazingly enthusiastic, quickly responding to all my questions. Has me wondering if they only attended my class to check out the new teacher. I've already gotten one request from a boy to switch into my section and one girl to switch out. Hmmmm....


Patricia and I went shopping today with the intent to buy some furniture. Instead we bought nine potted plants. They're so pretty. We have jasmine and lily and some other flowering plants for which I don't know the name of. Will post picts later :) Gotta go back to studying.

When we went out it was sunny, but then sudden showers.

Nipping under some cover.

Patricia throwing up her hands.

Our xe om drivers, like sitting ducks.

Don't worry, we paid them well :)


Dude, do I feel like I'm back in college.... No more invites to dinner please. At least not for another week.


Finally, after three weeks the wireless adsl has been installed!!! Woo-hoo! No more lugging my computer to wireless cafes:)

More time to research and prep for my classes. And more time to aim and chat with folks instead of having to log off because the cafe is closing.

Very very happy :)

meet, greet, eat, and bowl

This past week has been filled with catching up with people which means a lot of eating and exploring places to eat.

Landon, Roy, and Mimi. Had quite an interesting dinner with them. Roy and Lisa took us to a place close to their home that serves some excellent rice dishes.

Lisa and a friend of her daughter's.

Man and his brother Dat. It was their first time back and they were craving Chinese food. Got some grub at Miss Saigon.

Patricia and Rich chilling at this cute French place that serves some yummy yummy desserts. Forget the name, but its near Le Thanh Ton and Pasteur. I need a map, so I can mark all the spots I've been... (edit) The place is La Fenetre Soleil.

The Alamo re-created at Texas BBQ. Liked their corn on the cob. The menu was extensive, so will have to go back and try other things.

Met up with Giap, one of my sister's best friends, and his girlfriend for a friendly game of bowling at Diamond Plaza, one of Vietnam's malls. They have some really cute clothes. Will have to do a bit of damage when I get paid. I've been so good and haven't bought anything since I've been here. Well.... actually.... one pair of shoes, but still that's pretty good for me.

danang picts

Some pictures from my last visit:

Me and my maternal grandmother.

My paternal grandmother.

A new clan member :)

Guess who I spotted at the airport? Phi Nhung! She's my mom's favorite 'Ca Luong' singer. Her make-up guy tried to pick me, which was funny.

$6 massage

Getting massages here are totally worth it! Thanks to a recommendation from Royby, I went to a place on 31 Nguyen Binh Kiem and I got a one hour full-body massage. My back was still hurting after the house-cleaning incident and I figured why not. The masseuse was great, very professional. She always told me what she was about to do next and asked me if the pressure was alright. She cracked my neck and my back too. Surprised how much better that made me feel. Looking forward to more massages in the future :)

house-warming, house-keeping

Patricia and I had a house-warming get-together yesturday. Invited a few friends over: Bao, Rich, Steven, Steven's gf Trang. I was so happy that we finally had some female visitors. My cousins and the only friends that would visit us before were guys, because they were the only ones who owned their own motorbikes. I'm afraid some people in the neigborhood have gotten the wrong impression. Considering how rumor and gossip spreads around here, I shouldn't have been so surprised. Yesturday afternoon while walking to the market to get some hangers, I swear I heard someone say, "I wonder how much that would cost to rent for a night" as I walked by. Definitely a time I didn't want to understand the language.

We ordered pizza and watched "Hitched." Boy was that a cheesy movie.

Living with Patricia has been going well. Turns out we're both a bit of the neat freak variety, which is good, except when it comes to the floors. In my mind, I thought it would be good to mop the floors myself instead of hiring a housekeeper. During the process things were going fine.

3 buckets of water + 1 hour = 3 floors of gleaming floors.

Broke out into a bit of a sweat. I thought this was great! Could kill two birds with one stone. Not only would the house be clean, but I get a workout as well.

That was until about an hour later, my lower back did not agree with me. Perhaps I should have stretched, because my lower back decided to tense up and now there is a bit of pain. I should go get a massage. Or better yet, maybe all I need is a good housekeeper.

adsl install stalled

The install was supposed to be today, but has been delayed till Wednesday. Argghhh!!!! The company is having some kinda promotion and business has been swamped.

Another day
studying at the internet cafe.

hmmm... that rhymes.... yes, I'm going nuts without 24/7 access.

grandma's story

I went to Da Nang for a couple of days. It was raining the whole time, so I didn't do that much besides stay in to watch korean soap operas with my grandma and being fattened up by the relatives. They seemed determined to keep me in a constant state of food coma. I ate so much, my stomach is still recovering. Didn't want to touch any food for a full day when I got back into Saigon last night. Another thing about Da Nang during the rainy season is the mosquitos. They seem to have multiplied exponentially, prolly cause they breed in water. I ended up with about 20 mosquito welts on my arms, legs, and feet. I was wearing long sleeves too!!! Freaking mutant mosquitos bite through fabric!

Anyways, during one of these days inside, grandma begins telling me a story of the day of my birth. She remembers being in the delivery room when she saw my feet come out first. The doctors thought she was getting anxious, so asked her to leave. In her worried state, she left the hospital and began walking home. Along the way, she sees a 'xe om', motorbike taxi. He tells her to hop on and that he'll drive her. She didn't even ask him how much the fare was. It wasn't until they were heading up this road where there were barely any lights that she starting thinking that it was strange that he didn't ask for a price. Quickly thinking of what she might have gotten herself into, she moved her watch from her wrist and tucked it under her armpits. She then took out her earrings and put them under her tougue. Repeatedly giving him addresses of places near the police station, she told him she had no money on her and if he would take her to one of her relatives' homes, she could ask them to pay him when he dropped her off. The man had begun groping around for jewerly and money. Since he was reaching backwards with one hand, he couldn't reach her armpit, so could not feel the watch. Finally he drops my grandmother off and speeds off, certain that if he stuck around, she would have him arrested. Wow... and then she blames me for coming out feet first....

miss lily

After all these years without an American name, I finally succumbed. Students in Vietnam do not like having teachers with Vietnamese names. They like a foreign-sounding name. Isn't it ironic that the one place I've ever needed to use an American name is Vietnam?

So after much searching, I have chosen Lily, just because all of the other names I thought of are already associated with friends. I have no friends named Lily and its fairly easy for Vietnamese students to pronounce. I must say that it was kinda strange at first, but after a couple of days, I've become used to it. Sigh.... Miss Lily. I like my real name much more.

the metro

Is Vietnam's version of Costco Wholesale. Spent most of the day shopping for the furnishings for the house. Got a set of plates, bowls, cups, and utensils, a pot, a pan, some knives, linens, pillows, laundry basket, and clothes racks. It adds up. Almost done. Can't wait, then I can relax. Will hear back about my teaching schedule next week. Being patient can be hard sometimes.

Beware of tempting pastries from the street vendors, especially if it has a funny aftertaste. I had some this morning... didn't think anything of it and then five hours later... ended up throwing up for the first time since I was four.... Whatever was in it was completely indigestible by my stomach. Throwing up leaves an awful feeling of emptyness... so went and had some pho.