Archive | September 2012

Old Snobs, Riding Elephants

Old means different things to different people.  At age 16, 27 seems old.  At age 27, 67 seems old.    At age 67, it’s 97 that’s really wicked old.  And I assume by the time you’re 97 you’re too old to bother with old.  It’s the same with buildings.  In USA anything over 20 years is old.  100 years?  Ancient.  Meanwhile over in Granddaddy Europe a 100 year building is barely out of diapers.  It’s all relative.  But here in Asia old should be Old.  After all, the Vietnamese people have existed for something like 45 million years.  Or 4,000.  Some big number of years.  So naturally they should have some 45 million year old buildings, or at least 4,000.  Really anything over 500 will do.

It was with this flawlessly educated mindset that I recently trekked away through jungle and o’er mountains far to reach the ancient imperial city of Hue.

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Aping KPOP

*Note that I will try not my best to avoid the dark, life-sucking pit of teacher talk as much as possible.  Please excuse the slip up.

Today’s English lesson was on animal names as verbsThere were the classics – wolf (as in “Don’t wolf down your sandwich), horse (as in “He’s horsing around”), duck (“Here comes the ball…duck!”), monkey around, bear a burden, fish for compliments…all expressions that seemed, well,  just not that important at first.  I teach nine-year-olds, many of whom are still learning English.  Surely subject-verb agreement should trump crow about?  But Curriculum says no (Little Britain reference intentional) and, as the great Curriculum reminds me, students will be tested on this!  So away we went into the wonderful world of hawking, leeching and squirreling around.

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Eternal Weekend

Sigh.  Why couldn’t it stay Sunday afternoon at Intercontinental, Da Nang forever?  There’s something magical about a whole day dedicated to beautiful scenery (and unlimited champagne) that puts you in the mood for Weekend.  Just add a few key players from California, UK and Aus (and a few much missed ones from South Africa and USA) and you’ve got the perfect moment of travel.

In Defense of Ugly

Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder.  Although it may be indefinable and indescribable, it is also undeniable – certain things are beautiful.  And others aren’t.  The Taj Mahal: beautiful.  The city dump: not.  Sure there are the artsy among us who find beauty where it isn’t, but I’m talking about cheerleader shallow pretty; the things that smack you as gorgeous the moment you meet.  They are the pristine snow topped mountain peaks that show off on the covers of travel blogs.  They’re the magnificent old architecture that makes Paris Paris and London London.  They may be interesting.  They may be historical.  Above all they are beautiful.

So what about the ugly things?  What good are they to us?  Why hang out with the zitty adolescent of travel destinations when you could be with the prom queen?  Is there any value to ugly?

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Woof, Woof went my Sandwich

To scoot, or not to scoot…

The big Will She, Won’t She question before I moved to Vietnam was, of course: Will she eat dog?  Will she munch away the memory of Lassie and roast up Old Yeller?   Will she send Spot to the stomach and eat Clifford the Big Red Hotdog?

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Mystical, Magical, Crazy Hot Hoi An

I was told Hoi An is overrated.  It’s not.  Here’s a little taste of my newest neighbor

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