Feathered friends: Parrots at Pet Me. The shop attracts many young customers. Photo courtesy of Pet Me Viet Nam News by Thu Ngân You cannot talk about Hồ Chí Minh City without mentioning coffee. Coffee drinking has become an intrinsic part of the culture of this economic hub. For people visiting this bustling city for the first time, a visit to a coffee shop is mandatory. All this means coffee shops are mushrooming all over the place to cater to the ever-rising demand. Not only that, to stand out in the crowd, they constantly strive to be different. ‘Pet coffee shops’ are one such attempt at differentiation, with dozens of them now open. Pet Me coffee is among them. I came to know about the place after chatting with my friend once about parrots. She is a parrot lover and mentioned Pet Me and suggested I should visit it with my children. So there we were one morning at 198B Nguyễn Văn Hưởng in District 2. Not particularly … [Read more...] about Pets the latest addition to HCM City coffee shops
Coffee shops around me
This theme began innocently enough in Da Nang, where I came across a great shop that serves bún thịt nướng (barbecued pork pieces, sausage wrapped in betel leaves, and ground chicken on a skewer, together with the customary mountain of various greens, rice noodles, and a chili-laced peanut sauce) and took the habit of calling in each week or so. The single width standard-sized shop features those low-slung tables and teeny-weeny stools that all of us somewhat taller folks in Vietnam absolutely adore on the left side. It’s like a limbo dance to get low enough to sit on the stools without ending up sprawling on the floor, but once you’re seated it’s all good from there. A serving stand spans the left half of the front entrance with mom and her nón lá (traditional cone-shaped hat) running the grilling operation on the sidewalk. The right side of the shop is actually a motorbike service and repair operation, with stacks of tires … [Read more...] about Vietnam journal: Which came first? Chicken or egg?
VietNamNet Bridge – At the age of 36, Nguyen Thi Dai Trang from the central province of Ha Tinh, has obtained many things other people dream of - a good business and a happy family with two beautiful daughters.Trang’s restaurant, Nha Toi (My Home), which is known for barbecued food cooked over pebbles, has the highest number of customers in the province.Trang impresses people with her confidence, wit and activeness. However, behind such achievements are the tremendous efforts of a woman who has to use crutches for support.“All of my daily activities largely depend on the crutches, which I have been using since I was 11. Before that, my childhood used to be shadowed with sadness because I had to crawl around. My hands therefore were never clean,” she said.Trang was born a normal, beautiful child in Cua Lo Town in the neighbouring province of Nghe An in 1981. But her fate changed when she contracted fever at the age of three, which paralysed both her legs. … [Read more...] about A selfmade, confident woman on crutches
Bai Hat Viet (Vietnamese Songs) Contest gives new composers an opportunity to introduce their work to the public. Le Cat Trong Ly wrote last year’s winning song Chenh Venh when she was just 19 years old. She talks about the prize. How did you feel as the youngest woman ever to win first prize at the Bai Hat Viet Contest? I could not believe that I won the prize. When they called my name, I sat still. Some people sitting around me shook my shoulder and told me to go to the stage. Actually, the moment of sitting frozen lasted only two or three seconds. At first, I did not know that I was the youngest girl to take the highest prize at the Bai Hat Viet Contest. The next day, I read the newspapers. After that, I knew that I held that honour. Why did you send your song to the Bai Hat Viet Contest? Why did you choose Chenh Venh rather than other songs? Right after I wrote that first song, my sister suggested I send it to Bai Hat Viet. However, I was really nervous. … [Read more...] about Composer writes for the love of music
British stage and screen actor Daniel Day Lewis, once said: "The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that within ourselves we contain infinite possibilities." If the adage is true, artist Ho Kieng is its living embodiment. A sparse 20sq.m room. A bed. A dozen photographs and Kieng’s merit certificates hang on the wall. Piles of diaries containing poems that he writes for the sheer love of writing are scattered around the room. Kieng has been acting for more than 50 years and is on the verge of an historic 200th film. He writes poetry, plays and skits, but there is nothing pretentious or ostentatious in the home of the People’s Artist. He is wearing a pair of shorts and putting on a shirt as I call on the 85-year-old thespian. He also wears a jolly smile that immediately obliterates any allusions to poverty in the visitor’s mind. With glowing countenance, Kieng leads me to a small bed that he says is … [Read more...] about Actor still relishes stage after 50 years
The French call it “un coup de foudre” which literally translates to “a bolt of lightning,” but the term is also used to describe love at first sight. When it comes to travel, I’d only experienced that feeling twice before: Lausanne in Switzerland, truly one of the beautiful cities in Europe, and San Francisco, California, which is right near the top of any list of gorgeous destinations.As of now it’s three times – it took me only a couple of hours to see that Da Lat (also spelled “Dalat” in one single word like many other cities in Vietnam) is a city unlike any I’ve seen in Asia. Perched up in the hills about 200 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City (commonly abbreviated to HCMC, and often referred to by its former name Saigon), Da Lat is at 1,500 meters or 5,000 feet above sea level, so the first thing you’ll notice is the temperate climate.That’s why the French conceived the city – a cool retreat from the … [Read more...] about Déjà vu: A bolt of lightning in Vietnam Info Alert Alert Chia sẻ bài viết qua e-mail
Wearing a thin T-shirt while sipping a cappuccino in my favorite coffee shop, surrounded by Vietnamese dressed for the North Pole, is another example of surreal Vietnam.Or maybe they’ve got things confused at Christmas time…I know it’s the rainy season but look at the locals in Hoi An, a small town in central Vietnam, they think it’s the beginning of a three-month Ice Age.Every local baby has been swaddled up sufficiently to cope with a snow blizzard. All you can see is a narrow slip for the eyes between a Swedish woolen hat and a scarf bigger than the kid. Mothers don thick hats, mittens and facemasks to protect them from the imaginary sunrays bouncing off the ice sheets covering the landscape. There’s the urban vs rural aspect too.The farmers around my area, not that far from the rice fields, slosh about the muddy fields in bare feet while Hoi An’s townsfolk begin to cover up with sneakers and dare I mention it… socks.The buffalo herders … [Read more...] about Are you warm enough, Hoi An? Info Alert Alert Chia sẻ bài viết qua e-mail
I have lived as a nomad during the last five years, splitting time between several countries in Southeast Asia. Therefore, I have a good perspective of the various lifestyles, business and personal ethics, as well as cultures in the region.The last couple of years has seen me spend more time in Vietnam. Why? Beautiful destinations? Great food? Low prices? Fascinating fusion of cultures?Those are all valid reasons, but you’ll never guess which one is at the top of my list:It’s the energy and enthusiasm of Vietnamese people that draw me more and more to this country. I talk to so many Westerners who have not yet been to Vietnam and one of the most frequently asked questions is: “How do things work?” and “Do things get done in Vietnam?” “Can you find the products and food you seek?” Those questions seem absurd to us on the inside, but many Westerners have the vision of a clumsy operation where everyone has a job yet nothing gets done, … [Read more...] about 362 days of Vietnamese Info Alert Alert Chia sẻ bài viết qua e-mail
We all know that people in developing countries tend to have a shorter view of the future than others – a tendency to live for today and enjoy the simple things in life. People expect less and worry less, content to savour the good moments and cope with the tough deals that life brings when they pop up. In most cases they don’t have a choice but to cope because opportunities to progress up the chain aren’t available to many.We also know that children get extra special love and attention in societies where families have less. Family bonds are stronger – they have to be because everyone counts on each other to row the boat together in the same direction – that’s how they manage to survive. Families can’t afford to split apart in different directions with each seeking their own future wherever they choose – at least most families, that is.Most parents aren’t fretting over buying that next fancy pair of running shoes for their kid, or … [Read more...] about The kid-loving champion of Asia? Vietnam! Info Alert Alert Chia sẻ bài viết qua e-mail
We all know that people in developing countries tend to have a shorter view of the future than others – a tendency to live for today and enjoy the simple things in life. People expect less and worry less, content to savour the good moments and cope with the tough deals that life brings when they pop up. In most cases they don’t have a choice but to cope because opportunities to progress up the chain aren’t available to many.We also know that children get extra special love and attention in societies where families have less. Family bonds are stronger – they have to be because everyone counts on each other to row the boat together in the same direction – that’s how they manage to survive. Families can’t afford to split apart in different directions with each seeking their own future wherever they choose – at least most families, that is.Most parents aren’t fretting over buying that next fancy pair of running shoes for their kid, or … [Read more...] about The kid-loving champion of Asia? Vietnam!