Blogs from District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Southeast, Vietnam, Asia - page 4


Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 28th 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Sunday, April 17, 2016 At school, the other day, I was waffling on about a poem by Emily Bronte, 'Remembrance', in which she recalls the happiest time of her life – when her dead lover was alive. In the poem she describes how, after initially wallowing in grief for the dead man, she learnt to move on. In order to "sell" the poem, I decided to tell my class about the happiest time of my own life – when I was between 7 and 10 years old on holiday in Hayling Island with my parents. The moral of my story was that life went on after Hayling Island and my parents’ death; there were plenty of other things for me to enjoy. My classroom utterances have provoked a ... read more
On the Beach with Dad
The Boy From Belsen
Happy Days

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 28th 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Saturday, June 25, 2016 June 24th 2016: a day of mixed emotions. I was nursing a savage cold and debated whether to stay at home. However, it was my last chance to say goodbye to the students of Renaissance (Kevin's exit aka 'Kexit'), so I put on a smart red shirt and made it to school. The students showered me with cards and gifts and came to my classroom to bid me farewell. I made a speech at the final school assembly in which I praised my classes. Then there was the departing teachers' lunch at Boomerang in District 7, where Rhonda eulogized me. Chris Scoggins made a great little speech about how his father’s tales of Ho Chi Minh had inspired him to work in Vietnam. Gavin ... read more
Me with Gavin and Some of My Yr 11's
My Yr 11's from Last Year Came to Say Goodbye

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 26th 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Sunday, May 31, 2015 From an early age I have enjoyed looking at paintings by famous artists. I can recall a small print of 'Bubbles' by Millais in our Reading house during the 1950’s. I was also aware of Leonardo’s ‘The Last Supper’, which adorned my First Holy Communion certificate and which my father told me was the greatest painting in the world. My mother subscribed to a Roman Catholic magazine called ‘The Word’, whose contents did not interest me, but on the back cover each week there was a famous painting. As a teenager, I used to cut these out and stick them on my bedroom wall. I particularly remember Picasso’s lovely ‘Pierrot’. At Stoneham Secondary School my French teacher was a devotee of the arts, and he showed us ... read more
The Rokeby Venus - Velazquez
The Resurrection - Piero de la Francesca
Guernica - Pablo Picasso

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 24th 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Saturday, July 12, 2014 (or… Paul's Motorcycle Adventures) Day 1 (Friday July 4th 2014): At the airport it was a bit like En Attendant Godot (aka Paul aka Tintin). The flight from Abu Dhabi arrived late, and Paul phoned to tell me he was stuck in a very slow visa queue. Would he ever emerge from Arrivals? Had my previously untested visa-on-arrival plan misfired? Would the Viet authorities detain Crusty Paul (this was how they mispronounced his name) for hours on end? Suddenly he emerged with two bags – the Paul of old, a shade tubbier perhaps but much the same as the man I had last seen in Cairo 23 years earlier. He looked the same, but had all those years of housemastering and headmastering changed him ... read more
Present for Buddha
Ba Chuc -What the Khmer Rouge Left Behind
Chau Doc Temple

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 23rd 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Monday, August 12, 2013 I was a beer and wine man until my 50's. My tipples were traditional English bitter (London Pride, Batham’s, Holden’s) and rich wines like Chateau Musar and Sauternes. I knew a lot about beer and wine – from reading and field research. Whisky, however, was a mystery – mainly because I didn’t like it. The extent of my whisky knowledge was that my mother liked Teacher’s (she kept a bottle in the sideboard for special occasions), that Haig had a rhyming catchphrase ("Don’t be vague, ask for Haig") and that Black and White had two little Scottie dogs on the bottle. In short, whisky was something other people drank, and which I drank only when I had to (on special occasions like New Year’s ... read more
Another Giant
Ian Banks's Favourite
My Favourite

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 21st 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Sunday, May 6, 2012 The old Saigon is being demolished to make way for shiny new buildings and shops selling international brands. Some of my favourite bars and old-fashioned places have disappeared. When the pool hall at 102 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia closed in 2011, I was shocked. I had arranged to meet Toby there, as usual, on Tuesday at 7pm, for our weekly 9-ball tussle. When I arrived, Toby was at the entrance talking to some of the hostesses. He told me the place had shut down and was being dismantled. We went inside. Sure enough, workers were pulling my sacred pool hall apart. I had my camera and took a few nostalgic shots of the carnage. The end of an era; 9-ball will surely never be ... read more
Dead-Eye Nick
Dismantling Day

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 21st 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Sunday, August 12, 2012 Expats visiting Ho Chi Minh City in search of a good time will inevitably gravitate to Pham Ngu Lao, the backpackers' area of District 1, where the restaurants are cheap and the bars rock till early morning. The action is concentrated into four streets: Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien, Do Quan Dau and De Tham. De Tham (named after the Vietnamese hero who opposed the French circa 1900) is perhaps the most Westernized street in Vietnam, the tourist street par excellence, with wall-to-wall bars, eateries, souvenir stores, DVD shops, hotels and travel agencies. At the Pham Ngu Lao end of De Tham is Allez Boo, a bar-restaurant where tourists with more money than sense pay extortionate prices for quite ordinary fare. A bottle of ... read more
The Hideous Crazy Buffalo
Fish For Sale!
Market Vendors

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 21st 2017

Phatty's Sports Bar, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City, on Sunday Dec 9th 2012 at noon I arrived at Phatty's early. I had reckoned that the Pacquiao-Marquez fight would begin around 11am, but at 11am the last fight on the undercard was yet to start. Cursing my bad timing and nursing my draught Tiger, I settled down for a long uncomfortable wait. I say 'uncomfortable’, because Phatty’s was packed - mainly with Filipinos – and I was forced to stand. There were 7 screens to look at. I expected the undercard fight to be tedious. How wrong I was! It was a battle royal between super-featherweights: an aggressive Filipino, Michael Farenas, and the unbeaten champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, an American. The American was clearly superior and cut the Filipino’s face quite badly in the early rounds as well ... read more
Marquez's KO Punch
The Victor
No Quarter

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 21st 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Sunday, May 5, 2013 I've just watched Mayweather vs Guerrero in Phatty’s Sports Bar, Ho Chi Minh City. Quite a contrast with the last time I went – to watch Pacquiao vs Marquez – when it was standing room only, with hundreds of partisan Filipinos rooting for their hero. Today, it was quite sedate. There were plenty of empty seats, not a Filipino in sight and an audience of expats who seemed only mildly interested in the boxing. Not so this expat. I love my boxing, and today’s fight promised to be excellent. Mayweather the boxer (as opposed to Mayweather the man) has grown on me over the years, and I now realize what a consummate artist he is. Prior to this bout, he had won all of his 43 professional ... read more
The Stare

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 20th 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Sunday October 30th 2005 On the morning of Sunday October 30th 2005 a 'miracle' occurred in central Saigon. The statue or Our Lady (aka the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus), in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, started to cry. Yes, according to eyewitnesses, it began to shed tears. Drops of water were seen to trickle out of the solid stone. News of the ‘miracle’ spread, and soon a multitude of people had gathered in the Cathedral Square. I first heard about the weeping statue when I went downtown at 6-30pm that evening. Obviously something special was going on, because the traffic was at a virtual standstill, and the sideroads leading to Notre Dame Cathedral had been blocked off by the police. Only pedestrians were allowed into the ... read more

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