Impressions of Ho Chi Minh (Photo Series).

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Our cozy hotel setup at the Silverland Sakyo Hotel. While I appreciated the japanese inspired designs, our room had no windows. We had a really hard time getting up in the mornings without natural daylight.

 

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Despite its allure, I never actually got to bathe in this thing.

 

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A man earning his keep by selling pastries, all precariously balanced on his head. He placed the tray on my head for a short second and had it not had been for the support of his hands, my neck may have snapped. That thing was HEAVY.

 

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Exploring local markets, all of which were selling plenty of fake goods. Kenzo jumpers, Michael Kors bags and Ray ban knock offs.

 

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Being overwhelmed, yet super excited about the array of local food offered at the stalls, all for an average price of 2 Euros.

 

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Incase you weren’t drooling already. This was at Ben Thanh Market. The perfect place to get some souvenirs and food.

 

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As you can tell, I’m pretty darn happy. Pictured are classic vietnamese spring rolls and a wonton noodle soup.

 

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A Banh Mi stand sheltering under a tree.

 

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Next to the famous post office, there was a sort of “book-road” filled with cute cafés and book shops. A great place to come drink a delicious iced-coffee while getting away from the afternoon heat.

 

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Stacks and stacks of second-hand books. I don’t know what it is about them but I have to hold myself back from taking bags of them back home.

 

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This cute little display was located right next to the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.

 

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We also visited the Trung Ngyuen Café which is well known for it’s coffee. I loved the originality of the sand floors. I took of my shoes straight away and dug my toes into the sand.

 

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Trung Nguyen coffee beans available for sale. Did you know that Vietnam is famous for its Weasel Coffee? Weasels can pick out the sweetest and ripest coffee berries. They eat them and once the berries are pooped out (still intact) , they are used to make a very aromatic and expensive brand of coffee.

 

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After bad service and much anticipation , I was disappointed that the coffee tasted like bitter medicine and the glass of water which was flavoured with some tea to help cleanse the palate tasted like pee water, or what I would imagine that would taste like. I think i’ll stick to my european coffee from now on haha.

 

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This picture was taken at the War Remnants Museum, which was not for the faint of heart. I knew the Vietnam war had been devastating, but upon visiting the museum, I was left teary-eyed  and speechless. After learning about the horrible torture that civilians were subject to as well as the rape and killing of innocent children and the long-term effects of “Agent Orange”, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness for humanity. This photo hit a chord with me because here were these children, who were unknowingly posing with weapons of war, without a care in the world, while other just as innocent children are still victims of war today.

 

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This handsome fella was sticking his tongue out at us as we passed.

As a side note, as you can see , I am no professional photographer nor do I claim to be. I’m just as clueless with a camera as I am with my life but I’m hoping you still get the overall picture (pun intended because I’m such a master of the written word).

– A Pearl of the Orient.

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Phuk- et! We’re going to Thailand.

Isn’t it wonderful when one has something to look forward to?  Back in September of 2015, Benny and I decided to take a pass on many nights of take-out sushi, expensive christmas presents and extravagant ski trips to save for a getaway in February to Asia . The cold weather tends to lose its appeal with the absence of ginger bread cookies and christmas lights ; apparently Christmas music doesn’t lose its appeal till much later as our local Chinese restaurant was still playing Silent Night, Holy Night till late January…

After months of anticipation we were off! Now when I look back at it, it feels like a dream. Our first stop was Bangkok. I’m not going to lie to you, Benny and I were more excited about the food than anything else and we did not come home disappointed! We were lucky to have a variety of street markets in the area and over- indulged ourselves with street food by averaging 5 or more meals per day. I wish I was exaggerating. For what they lacked in hygiene ( best not to dwell too long on this aspect) , they made up for in taste, atmosphere and price.

Then, we did all the typical things that tourists do like visiting The Grand Palace , shopping at Chatuchak market,treating ourselves to an obnoxious amount of foot massages , getting ripped off by boat tour guides , riding a Tuktuk with a driver who had no regard for speed limits and then… eating some more. Bangkok is also known for its crazy night life amongst tourists and although unplanned, we managed to have a crazy night out of our own. I would divulge the details, but then again I wouldn’t because my mum reads this blog and well…the rest is self explanatory.

Our next stop?… Phuket! Our main aim was to simulate sloths and that’s pretty much what we did. With the odd bout of water rafting and elephant riding, a majority of the time was spent drinking coconuts, lounging on sun-beds, getting sand in all the places it shouldn’t be and watching mums get hilariously wasted at the pool bars happy hour . IT WAS GLORIOUS; minus the food poisoning towards the end of our stay. That? Not so much fun. I know what you’re thinking…of course we got food poisoning over there from that ridiculous amount of street food we were consuming but alas! It was the juicy, innocent looking beef burger at the hotel that turned out to be the devil. The romantic Valentine’s day dinner plans the next day abruptly went down the drain (amongst other things )and we spent the day in bed pathetically slurping on instant noodles.

After barely recovering, we headed on over to Malaysia to visit my mum. Many things that were on our list such as visiting Legoland, or popping over to Singapore never crystallised. With battered bodies, we surrendered to rest and ironically, more food. All in all , it was an incredible trip and I feel like trying to write a post about it is actually doing it an injustice. Experiences like that are felt by the soul and sometimes they simply aren’t made for sharing.You just had to be there.

Holy shit, I am deep.

– A Pearl of the Orient.

P.S. I realise that some pictures would’ve gone along well with this post but seeing as I’m a broke student and couldn’t afford to buy a good quality camera ( though I hope to in the near future) before going abroad, I feel that most of the photos I took are not worth sharing . You can , however, check out my Instagram (apearloftheorient) for a few .

 

 

The woes of working retail

Photo copyright of : www.aubergeduquartierquebec.comWorking in retail, I come in to contact with many different types of people over the course of the day. When you see certain types of people regularly you begin to categorize them like I have and can spot them out the second they set foot in the store. So, i’ve compiled a list of some of the more ‘interesting’ customers my colleagues and I have the ‘pleasure’ of working with.

The Groper-

The groper loves to touch. No, not people but clothes. The groper is fairly common and can easily be recognized when they enter the store. They rush for the nearest table and begin feeling over each and every single piece of clothing with no intention whatsoever of buying said item. Heaven forbid if we have something fluffy.

The Bargain hunter –

The bargain hunter is 90 percent of the time asian ( we do like our good deals) and comes in regularly to check what is on sale . If we have sweatpants for clearance, you know they’re about to buy ten pairs and ask you five times if you have more sizes in the back. You also know that if by accident, a pair of sweat pants that cost 29.99 instead of 28.99 slipped into the pile, they will be returning to the store shortly after the purchase, receipt clutched in hand.

The Stubborn shopper-

This stubborn shopper walks in already looking a little forlorn. They can either be found walking in circles or staring at an item like it’s just grown a face . When approaching said person and asking if they would like assistance, you can bet that the answer is ‘no’. The other week, I approached a young lady who looked like she was having trouble with finding jeans in her size. When I asked if I could advise her, she insisted she was fine. She then proceeded to wreck all the neatly folded stacks to take out 5 pairs of the same jeans in the same size. When I kindly pointed this out, she mumbled an ‘ I know’ and went to the fitting room to try on EVERY SINGLE PAIR. Gee, I wonder why none of them fit…?

The Walking fashion show-

The walking fashion show is extremley profitable when they show up to the cash register with full arms but more often than not, they show up to the fitting rooms with half the store, parade around a mirror and after an hour of trying everything on, leave empty handed. Wasted time for both me AND you, bud.

The #rkoi (Rich kid of Instagram) –

The #rkoi is almost always a girl ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old. She struts in with her Michael Kors purse in one hand and the holy grail: her Iphone 6 in the other and her freshly manicured nails glitter as she hands you daddys credit card. Yes child, please let me assist you in spending my months equivalent of rent on some clothes.

The Tornado-

The cherry on the cake :The Tornado, is my least favourite of all people. They enter the store, wreck it and leave it looking like a hurricane just hit. No mercy. Regardless of the fact that you clearly JUST folded that pile of tank tops, they aren’t shy. They’ll go right ahead and annihilate your hard work. Suddenly there’s a trail of jumpers on the floor, a half naked mannequin and somewhere in the corner, a crying coworker.

So go on, own up… which type are you? Let me know in the comment section below!

P.S.  It doesn’t actually matter, i hate you all.

–  A Pearl of the Orient.