Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hey, Ho, Hanoi!

So yeah, it was my first time in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I must say it was a pretty interesting experience. For one, I had heard about the world-famous traffic, and boy did the Viets delivered. ...

But first things first; I was there on official business to attend a New Media Contents workshop that was also attended by reps from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and of course, Vietnam. Supported by the French embassy, we were also graced by a team of French speakers. Interesting indeed.

We were booked at the Mercure Hotel in the heart of Hanoi. A fairly new establishment, it’s a pretty cozy and modern hotel and is highly-recommended for visitors.
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The workshop took place at the VTV (Vietnamese TV) Training Centre, just a 5-minute van ride away.
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But straight away we were treated to the traumatic chaos of Hanoi traffic. And if you think Malaysia was the home of maniacal motorbikers, well, think again. In Vietnam, there must be more motorbikes than there are sheep in New Zealand.
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Throw in the cars, becas, bicycles and suicidal pedestrians, and you get an experience like no other. And oh yeah, honking at others is totally acceptable here, so the noise level is extremely high as well.
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If you’re a passenger, it’s best that you play with your thumbs rather than paying attention to how the driver would attempt to maneuver through the traffic without causing a few accidents here and there.

What was interesting to me was the fact that we only did see one person on a motorbike got bumped by a car the entire five days. And only ONE taxi driver actually rolled down his window to (mildly) scold a few slow-coaches.

Back to the workshop, the organizers basically stuck to the 9-5 schedule, which meant we never really got the chance to see the city in daylight.
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Lunch was provided upstairs, but us Malaysians did manage to sneak out to this Malaysian Restaurant almost every day to get our fix of confirmed-halal food. Haha.
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We also went back to the same area on most nights to check out the souvenir stores and the Hoan Kiem Lake nearby. If you’re into silk stuff, this is definitely the place to go.
......The best lunch we had was definitely at this food centre ala The Chijmes in Singapore, where I totally binged on some excellent seafood.
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We also got to visit the VTV offices and studios one morning…
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One very interesting thing we noticed all over Hanoi was their own version of the Mamak. Basically makan places on the sidewalks with very small and low tables and chairs. But although we asked around, we never did get an answer as to how this “tradition” came about.
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And oh yeah, how can I not talk about the weather? Perth a few weeks ago was chilly, but Hanoi was freezing on most days. Which I totally dug, of course…
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The closing ceremony was done at the French Cultural Centre where we got to hear more French people speaking and were eventually handed our certificates.
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Overall, a rather enjoyable trip with some good stuff picked up during the workshop. If only we got to see Ha Long Bay…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello From Hanoi!

Yup folks, I'm Vietnam. For work, of course.

So far it's been quite interesting. Never been here before, so still getting used to the sights and, um, smells.

Traffic is as described by many. In one word: Chaotic.

Weather is nice though. It's nice and chilly and a jacket is required.

Full report when I come home.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The 7 Coolest Things Of The Past 7 Days

1. Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT makes its world premiere
Watch this genius piece of film, people!

2. Adam Lambert reveals album cover
d&%5E5*#h%6... is all I can say, really.
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3. The Internet turns 40
Pah. Overrated, this Internet business. Hehe. I’m kidding of course…

4. Anna Kournikova in KL!
In a baju kurung, no less. Looks like a “menantu” any mom would approve, doesn’t she?

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5. Robert Pattinson underwear
Seriously! It’s a truly twisted world we live in now…
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6. The Abu Dhabi F1 Circuit
Seriously, it looks like a slice of Mars with cars racing on it. Outstanding.

7. Britney’s 3 music video
Watch it here. You might want to keep it away from kids though.

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