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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Bangkok 2017

Over the semester break in February, which yes, was almost four months ago (I’m a little behind on my writing) , Benny and I took a hiatus to go back to continent of culinary delights…Asia! With the intention of exploring a new destination, we opted to visit Vietnam but no trip to Asia would be complete without a cheeky stopover in Bangkok. After our wonderful experience in 2016, we had to go back .

This time around we opted to stay at a Hotel near Khao San Road to be near to the hustle and bustle. Casa Nithra was the perfect option as it was within walking distance as well as super clean, affordable and had the friendliest staff!

Having done all the “touristy things ” the year before we could focus on the one thing we came to do: Eat. I came to Asia prepared to pack on the pounds because it would be a crime to not take advantage of Bangkok’s street food culture. Every meal/snack was a new adventure. Though simple in appearance, I find thai street-food to be as comforting as mum’s home-made chicken noodle soup and packed with flavour and I’d pick it over a fancy five-course meal any day.

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Shrimp fried rice
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Crispy pork belly, pickled vegetables and rice drizzled in soy
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Chicken fried rice

 

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Spicy soup noodles with pork dumplings
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Pad Thai and Fried Banana Springrolls

 

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4 Euros for a bucket of alcohol? Yes, what you save in money you pay for in headaches.

When we weren’t eating (which was almost never) we just took the time to relax by the pool, get a massage or drink a cold Chang at one of Bangkok’s many street bars/ restaurants. Though this post isn’t filled with useful tips or adrenaline-filled tales, I just felt the need to convey my love for the city. The bright people, the dusty streets, suicidal tuk tuk drivers and of course countless food stands make Bangkok a breath of metaphorical fresh air.

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That’s all for now, Folks! Look out for my next post on Vietnam.
– A Pearl of the Orient.

 

Am I a clean freak?

I have been holding back from writing this post for a LONG time in hopes of finding my inner-peace but when I came home today to find MULTIPLE snot stains on my couch I thought I was going to turn green, rip my clothes off and start beating on my chest. So here it is, another rant. Grab a cookie, a glass of milk, take your socks off and bask in my anger, apparently it’s entertaining.

I’ll acknowledge that I’m probably not the easiest person to live with. I’m incredibly protective of my food and am prepared to suffocate anyone who takes the last slice of pizza without permission. Do you even know the pain of waking up first thing in the morning, thinking to yourself: “Great, I’ll have some Pizza for breakfast (eaten cold because i’m hardcore)”, only to open a greasy box which has evidently been put back into the fridge due to the fact that it contains nothing but a measly piece of salami in it? Additionally, I’m pretty much a grandma on weekdays and don’t have much tolerance for large groups of people and noise when I’m planning to catch my Z’s at ten pm. My eighteen year old self would hate me. However, the thing I’m most particular about is cleanliness.You’re picturing me as the crazy asian version of Monk now, aren’t you? Well in that case, picture this.

You’ve come home after an extended weekend away.The apartment is empty so your roommates must to be out. You hang up your keys and run to the toilet because as per usual, you got the urge to pee as you were in the lift. You slam the door shut and just as you’re about to sit down , what do you see?  A toilet bowl which has clearly been violated. A person (or a bear) has clearly taken a ‘big one’, flushed and decided to leave a huge stain for the next person to clean up as a nice little bonding activity. Tasty.

Then, on the way to kitchen, a dull stench wafts down the hallway. Its source is a rubbish can, filled to the top and overflowing on to the floor. Juices and all. Someone was definitely going to take that out today, no cause for a commotion. You navigate around the trash pile only to notice your stocks are sticking to the floor. It appears as if an unidentified brown sticky substance has coated the floor and been left to dry. Pepsi? Barbecue Sauce? You’re not going to taste and find out.

You open the fridge which is covered in ketchup stains and are caught off guard by the cheesy aroma which drifts out. You poke around to find the culprit, an old, open mozzarella packet, with it’s juices leaking out. You push it to the side because you are strong and refuse to clean up someones mess again and continue loading in your groceries.

You then proceed to cook your dinner, ignoring the stove which has become slightly crusty and the various remnants of whatever meal was put together before on the kitchen counter. With the intentions of putting away your own mess, you open the dishwasher to find that it is curiously full though there are a total of maybe five items inside. “Somebody didn’t play Tetris as a child” , you mumble to yourself. You go about reorganizing the dishwasher to fit in your pan,plate and glass. Before you can escape to your room, you decide to take a nice relaxing shower.

You grab a towel, strip yourself down and hop into the tub. There appears to be a fluffy hairball in the drain. You swallow hard, take a cotton pad and attempt to remove it slowly. It catches. It’s stuck in there pretty good. You pull and pull until finally, your hand is free! You shudder and toss it all in the bin. It is done.

You feel yourself relax as the hot stream of water beats down on your tired muscles. The smell of your shampoo calms you. After you reluctantly step out, your fogged up reflection greets you in the mirror. You take the corner of your towel and quickly wipe over it. For some reason, you still don’t clearly see yourself. It dawns on you that this is due to the fact that the mirror is actually covered in toothpaste stains. You feel your head get hot. The vein in your neck begins to pulse and then…you black out.

When you open your eyes, you are standing in a spotless apartment with a fresh sheen of sweat on your forehead, a bottle of CIF in one hand and a washcloth in the other. You’ve lost the battle.

Disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this post are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
*Not.

– A Pearl of the Orient.