Monday, 28 May 2012
So now I'm at Ramingining with colleagues, and the store is very bare and we don't know when we will get fresh vegetables, but we can eat saffron rice with infused with cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods :)
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Saturday, 19 May 2012
In other news, a little Emma update:
In Vietnam I bought some very good headphones, and since coming home I've been having a bit of a musical revolution with my iPod- listening to music I've loved for years and hearing bass lines, backing vocals and harmonies I never knew were there.... Hmmm maybe my last headphones were just really bad.
Next weekend I am driving to Ramingining with some colleagues. Here it is on a map of my stomping ground:
It's my first time to Ramo, and the first time in a while that I've driven rather than flown out bush. It's about 12 hours from Darwin, and we're still waiting to hear about the height of a few rivers before we decide whether to take the Central Arnhem Road or go across the hoot.
Anyway it should be a hoot... especially if I can spend my non-driving shifts curled up in the back of a 4WD with my iPod and aforementioned awesome headphones.
Sunday, 13 May 2012
For now I just appreciate the colour they add to the streetscapes, and the quaint social/socialist-realism of them.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
We haven't really seen much poverty in Vietnam. People seem to get by on small street stalls and motorbike taxis, which make everything run.
In Phu Quoc, I'd leaned my cheap shoe against the exhaust pipe of a Xe Om (motorcycle taxi) and caused the cheap rubber sole to melt a little bit. This made the shoe a little unbalanced and quite ugly.
While crossing a road and telling the fiftieth person that i didn't want a ride/pineapple/t-shirt/lighter, a man grabbed me by the shoes and began to glue the sole into a more fashionable shape. Oh crap..
The Lonely Planet guide specifically warns against the shoe-shone guys. They start before you can say no. They never set a price before they start and they always, always overcharge.
So the guy rebuilds part of my heal using some leather and glue and foam. The end result is functional if quite ugly and takes about 15 minutes. I wait for the hit. This should be about 20,000 Dong (about a dollar), with the obvious mark-up it'll probably be 100,000 Dong ($5 or a good meal in a fancy restaurant, he and his buddies will eat well tonight).
He types out the number on a pocket calculator: 900,000 Dong.
900,000 Dong is $30. It's last night's hotel budget. It's what I paid for these shoes, brand-new, two weeks ago.
So I start ranting and trying to bargain. Eventually, Emma points out that he doesn't understand that much English and my points about failing business models are probably not getting through.
I settle for 550,000 largely because that is everything I have in my wallet. By being quite gruff I manage to talk him out of following me to an ATM to get the rest.
Most of the city is actually quite lovely, with parkland and cute cafes and anything you could want to buy. I'll post photos later.
But my first impression of Hanoi - city of scams.