Boutique’s Best Breakfast

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Good morning, Vietnamese way.

—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Your taxi arrives at the hotel and, from the blue, a bellboy appears opening the taxi door for you. He (mostly ‘he’) takes your luggage inside and asks you to have a seat. Then another hotel staff member approaches you with a tray in their hand on which there are cold towels for refreshing rolled neatly into round tubes decorated on top with a fresh purple orchid flower. Still another staff member comes and offers you nước sấu, a traditional Hà Nội cold drink. (In fact, the sweet-salty-and-sour drink is made from pickled sấu, the kind of fruit found in Hà Nội only.) You are served like kings and queens.

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Đà Lạt: From a well-weathered traveler

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Sunrise over the lake

—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

People in Sài Gòn used to consider Đà Lạt a place they come to cool themselves down, especially in summer. I don’t think it holds true any more. The temperature in Đà Lạt has been rising up over the years to the point electric fans have been used in summer, a phenomenon unheard of approximately ten years back. Still, Đà Lạt has numerous other things to offer visitors from out of town.

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Intimacy with Fullerton

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Flowers on the side of the road.

–> Đọc bài đầy đủ tiếng Việt.

I would never imagine one day I would associate ‘intimacy’ with California. Neither could I believe the moment of intimacy happened when I was in Fullerton, Southern California. But it did. Continue reading

Sài Gòn 2012, Week 2: Intimacy culture

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When I had a chance to look at my own country with an extra point of view of – not just a local, but also a visitor with a different perspective, I shivered to realize how beautiful Việt Nam is. It truly is. You would not find anything like Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, or Mall of America, ect. – things on a big scale like in America. Instead, a unique way of combining colors and shapes and sizes in these houses and those little shops and cafes, and the sensuous green make you feel easily at home, right the first time you see them. Intimacy is the term. Things and people present and the atmosphere created are not to impress you, but to invite you in. So, relax, and enjoy! Continue reading

Sài Gòn 2012, Week 1: Think twice!

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The city center at night

I set my mission to look for beautiful things in Việt Nam as I visited the country the second time after more than ten years away. I found it difficult to do so in Sài Gòn, at first. Besides the obvious presence of constant crowds and an enormous amount of construction dusts everywhere, l also believe the temporal and spatial dimensions you carry with you as you leave one place to enter another are important. I was in Seoul, South Korea, before setting foot on Sài Gòn, Việt Nam. From Seoul to Sài Gòn, there is definitely a lot of information to process – given the irresistible desire of the mind for comparison.  So I was pretty confused and depressed most of the first week. Continue reading

Seoul 2012, Day 5: The stairs that lead to nowhere

It is not a new thing to say that Korean people are obsessed with beauty, in their own way and in different areas. With their meticulous attention to detail, and my not wanting to compare, I would just say that everything I see in Seoul has a clean, neat lines in design. Take a look at their chopsticks and spoon, and start from there – very elegant, simple and modern. Continue reading

Seoul 2012, Day 2: A Meal Fit for a King

Any visitor to Korea will surely be treated with a Korean traditional meal. The presentation is exquisite and the whole meal an incredible experience. In total, there will be over 15 dishes. The number of dishes, the way each is prepared and how sophisticated it can be, vary among restaurants. But in general the number of dishes and the order they are served are pretty much similar. Continue reading

Seoul 2012, Day 1: Arrival

24-hour traffic jam is an everyday reality in Seoul. During the drive from the airport to your destination, expect congestion as you enter the city – even at midnight. I am serious. As one gets stuck in the traffic, one cannot help but wondering what Seoul people are doing on the street at midnight. Talking about nightlife and a sleepless city! Continue reading