Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Traffic in Vietnam

I have read little about the traffic in Vietnam before experiencing it. It seemed callow, on one hand hysterically fearful, and on the other, blithely and ignorantly patronising towards the Vietnamese who are getting killed on the roads.

I decided to stop reading and see for myself.

And, see it I did, on day 1 and 2.
One the way to Ha Long I saw a women off a motorbike on the macadam looking decidedly grey. The first responders were not doing what I would have done, by way of first aid.
The second was a chap crushed under a truck. Bits of his clothing and his helmet had been stripped off. It was clear that his life was over. It was what we would have refered to, in my days working in the hospital as "coming in in a wheel barrow." It wont have been the truck that got him though, it will more likely to be he lost control of the bike, ended up dirtside. The truck crush was a secondary consequence.

There really are three types of traffic same as every where in the world.

1. Big City. Saigon. Very safe but mind blowingly confusing. See below.

2. Country roads. The most dangerous of all. My host drove for 5 hours to get 200 kms. His maximum speed was 80 miles an hour. There are children playing in the traffic at night. They are increasingly drunk after 5 pm.

3. Back streets. Safe. A no brainer.

Crossing the street in Saigon; much is made of this.

Don’t just launch out into the street without reading the traffic and the signs. Unlike Australian roads the motorists will do thier best ont to run you down and ARE paying attention but they are only human.

Use pedestrian crossings and cross with the lights. Wait for gaps in the traffic.

Once you have commenced the crossing under NO CIRCUMSTANCE vary your pace or hesitate. The motorists will have seen you as soon as you started and will have planned to avoid you - trust them. Also bear in mind the traffic speed is about 30km/h.

It isn’t as crazy as it seems at first but don’t lose your concentration.  

Exotic Food

Pig's Guts. (Probably mostly the cleaned out digestive tract). I am not going to exagerate for effect (as is my customary wont), in this instance. 

We need to keep this real.

Full Disclosure: the ingredients for this wonderful meal were sourced from Farmer Jacks in Girrawheen Perth. "Your go to Guy for all things porcine and visceral" My local store.

My mate's Mum made us a meal that needs Exponential notation to describe the Umami punch this dish packed. I have broken bread with the Welsh and by comparison it makes them seem like lettuce nibblers.  After enjoying this dish the car in which I travelled home stank like an abattoir. Just from the exudation from my skin. I kept the socks I was wearing and could tell at a distance of a few feet, purely on the schnozz, which were my regular pongers and which had the added piggy zest. Loved it to bits BTW. 

"A holodeck vista of protein chemistry and porcine disembowelment.   A dish I recommend to those planning on visiting a Mosque." 

Wild Pig. Barbecued. Delicious and much tastier then domestic pork. The Skin is made into a chewy "crackling" which is also marvellous.

Duck Embryos. Poached. A poached duck egg has to be one of the most wonderful dishes on this planet. The Vietnamese cuisine (as always) goes one better. The eggs have been fertilised and incubated till the embryo has developed to about the size of the yolk. They are cracked on the side of a hot pot and delivered into the broth. It is impossible to see if they writhe as they come up to the temperature where the protein begins to denature. The skeleton of the embryo gives the dish a wonderfully sub crunchy texture. You are yet to live.

Congealed Goat's Blood. Poached.
Porcupine Stomach Wine.

Rat. Sans skin, Marinaded in Coca Cola and barbecued. Tender and delicious.


Raw Prawn.

Mouse deer. The Vietnam mouse-deer (Tragulus versicolor) is an utterly appalling creature, thankfully on the brink of extinction (it has this in common with the Australian kangaroo.) "Exterminate all the brutes!" A toothsome dish.

Lotus Wine.
Chicken heads and feet.

Fish heads. Grilled over charcoal. Dig out the tender meat behind the cheeks and suck out the aqueous humor. The rest of the fish is pretty good to. They don’t scale them but let the barbecue weld the scales to the skin and peel it off. Shame to waste the skin.

Dog. Has a pungent dipping sauce that smells like human faeces and has a profoundly umami taste reminiscent of pigs intestine . Reputedly a bit strong even for most locals. The flesh is smooth and delicious with the fat flavoursome and tender. The meat is faintly beefy but could pass for pork.
Be sure not to part wind in company after consuming this delicious meal.

The Lotus

Almost every poster of Ho Chi Minh had a lotus in it as we drove around Vietnam however a Google image search found mostly Soviet style grimly determined but blissfully happy proletarians. I hope this change continues and I have reason to hope that it will.
 Hue - the moat of the ancient palace. The perfume from the flowers  every where.
 In the country side in the farmlands near Hoi An.

A restaurant between Cu Chi and Saigon.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rory's bar phu quoc

Rory really rubbish pool table with no chalk. Great for hits and giggles.

Antique Bicycles

A whole warehouse of French bikes from the 30s. Aluminium frames!

Buddha Buddha

M1 Garand


## AK 47 You tube AK 47

 M 16


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016


Phu Quoc - The perfect place to stay.

Like something out of a Graeme Green novel.

Our scooters are being delivered.

“Like a dream come true.”

Some friends in Vietnam told me they would advise me of the very best places to visit on my holiday from Australia. Without their recommendation i probably would not have found out about this gem. The hotel itself is beautiful and well constructed. The pool is clean and fresh. The food is remarkably good. We went over to the beach for a night stroll and the water was sparking in the moonlight. We visited Rory's Bar which is right out on the beach and so idyllic and atmospheric I thought it could only exist in a movie not in real life.

What really shone out, above the rest, was how friendly and accommodating the staff were. They made me feel like family. I would give this place ten stars out of five if I could.

Contact Info

Phu Quoc Resort Ocean



Address: 4, Cua Lap Hamlet, Duong To Commune, Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang Province
Phone number: 077 370 3228
Email: ocean.phuquoc@gmail.com

Vietnam Electrical Wiring

Didn't see a single solar panel.

Classic Bikes - the Honda 67


Cu Chi

I have always  been skeptical about the Cu Chi tunnels, until I saw them.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Call me Nguyễn Ishmael

Went off on a fishing trip with a rather jolly bunch of chaps on a little wooden boat.

All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long

Fish barbequed on the beach with congenial comrades some Tiger and White Lightning and plenty of heat. 
Then we got monsooned on.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A rather jolly train ride.

From Hue to Hoi An

Now here is the wrinkle. Unlike countries where native savages swing from the vines in the jungle dressed in their traditional strap on phallic extension and armed with charge sheet and clipboard.  i.e. Australia. The Vietnamese are sanguine, approving even, about the liberal consumption of booze on a train trip. The chap that brings round "stuff" has ice and will let you have some. What you need to have already done at this stage of proceedings is to have purchased 2 bottles of Hanoi Vodka (cost negligible) , some Soda (bloody expensive), fruit syrup and identified the car most likely to party on (obviously not your own) and contributed the Vodka to the common weal.  That way the party kicks off and you can, join in or retire to your own civilized compartment, as the mood take you.  This is bloody living!!